After Further Review: Saints pre-camp 53-man roster projection

After Further Review: Saints pre-camp 53-man roster projection

(WVUE) - If viewing on mobile, click here.

Away we go with another Saints training camp. But for the first time since 2014 the Saints are coming off a playoff run. That adds to the expectations but so too does the depth on this roster. That depth became pretty clear after constructing my first way-too-early 53-man roster projection.

QB (3)

Drew Brees

Tom Savage
Taysom Hill

Hill will be one of the most watched players in camp and preseason. If he is who Sean Payton believes he may be then it’s not a stretch to say he can beat out Savage for the backup job. In a perfect world, Payton would prefer to keep just two quarterbacks anyway. But based on what I saw in the offseason, I’m not ready to say Hill is there yet. We’ll see in camp but for now he stays as the number three signal caller. J.T. Barrett could be a nice developmental prospect on the practice squad.

RB (5)

*Mark Ingram

Alvin Kamara
Shane Vereen 
Terrance West
Trey Edmonds
Zach Line

The plot thickens in the running back room in training camp. Turns out the Saints added two veterans to the mix in West and, most recently, Vereen. On the surface, Vereen is the ideal Payton back: steady in pass pro and can catch the ball out of the backfield. With Ingram coming back after the first four games, someone on this list will likely be gone. Still, I think Payton will come to appreciate what Vereen brings to the table and makes his way on. Edmonds has special teams ability. I really liked what Boston Scott did in the offseason, but I can’t see them keeping both Vereen and Scott at the position. The numbers may be working against him at this position and could end up on practice squad.

WR (5) 

Michael Thomas
Ted Ginn Jr. 
Tre’Quan Smith 
Cam Meredith 
Austin Carr
For now, I have Carr as the fifth wide receiver simply because he can work the underneath route tree that the team sorely missed last year with Willie Snead. It played a huge role in the collapse of third down efficiency a year ago. Still, Carr is far from a guarantee. Players like Tommylee Lewis, Brandon Coleman, Travin Dural, Eldridge Massington or even Josh Smith could work their way on if they shine in camp.

TE (3)

Ben Watson 
Michael Hoomanawanui
Josh Hill
Interestingly enough every one of these players on the final year of their respective contracts. I think Hooman’s roster spot is vulnerable. I’m just not sure who is going to emerge to take that spot. Deon Yelder is a guy everyone seems to be high on. We’ll see when camp opens. For now, Hooman stays.

OL (9)

Ryan Ramczyk

Terron Armstead
Max Unger
Andrus Peat
Larry Warford
Jermon Bushrod
Rick Leonard
Will Clapp
Cameron Tom

I think the top six are set for this group. The numbers behind those six could be fluid. Leonard and Clapp were both draft picks, while Tom is a guy they’ve liked for a while. On this projection, there’s room for all of those guys but that could change. Josh LeRibeus proved valuable last season and is a realistic option as well.

DE (5)

Cam Jordan

Alex Okafor
Marcus Davenport
Trey Hendrickson
AL Quadin Muhammad

Okafor vs Davenport to me is the only real starting position battle in camp. Every other job seems set. It all comes down to Hau’Oli Kikaha and Muhammad for the final roster spot. I’m giving it to Muhammad for now.

DT (4)

Sheldon Rankins
David Onyemata
Tyeler Davison
Woodrow Hamilton
A fourth defensive tackle, to me, is the biggest hole on this team. Perhaps that illustrates just how deep this team is. If you were to poll most teams and backup defensive tackle is the biggest problem, I think they would take it. Hamilton is a run stuffer which is why I included him. But the truth is, he doesn’t have any inside track to the job. This could be an area they address with cuts from other teams.

LB (6)

DeMario Davis
Alex Anzalone
A.J. Klein
Manti Te’o
Craig Robertson
Nate Stupar
The depth is there at linebacker for the Saints this season. For this projection, I included Stupar because of special teams ability and play in pass coverage. But his injury history makes him vulnerable. A name to watch in this group is Colton Jumper.

CB (5)

Marshon Lattimore

Ken Crawley
Patrick Robinson
Natrell Jamerson
P.J. Williams
Another interesting group is cornerback. Arthur Maulet was the last player I cut mainly because I think he could clear waivers and return to the Saints practice squad then work his way on like he did last year. However, I can easily see him beating out Williams or Jamerson. Justin Hardee is also a name to watch here. 

S (5)

Kurt Coleman

Marcus Williams
Vonn Bell
Kamrin Moore
Chris Banjo

I put Moore at safety because he was playing there some in the offseason. His versatility gets him on the roster. Banjo is a solid special teams player that can contribute. Coleman, Bell and Williams are obviously starters depending on the package Dennis Allen runs.

Specialists (3)

Thomas Morstead

Wil Lutz
Zach Wood 

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.