We're nine practices into Saints training camp, and have already learned a lot from the team. While there's a lot to still figure out here, we re-visit what a 53-man roster might look like for New Orleans based on what we know. Last time we did this was in the beginning of June before minicamp in a 'way-too-early' roster prediction.
Full disclaimer. We haven't seen any preseason action, which can shift the thought process. Some players look good in practice, but can't put it together in game situations and vice versa.
Here's another crack at piecing together the 2021 Saints roster.
Quarterback (3): Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Ian Book
Running Back (4): Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, Dwayne Washington
Fullback (1): Alex Armah
Wide Receiver (5): Tre'Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Chris Hogan, Ty Montgomery
Tight End (3): Adam Trautman, Nick Vannett, Juwan Johnson
Offensive Line (9): Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, Ryan Ramczyk, James Hurst, Will Clapp, Ethan Greenidge, Landon Young
Devonta Freeman has been pretty impressive during training camp, and some have believed he could challenge Latavius Murray, but they're not the same player. Murray is RB2 on this team, and Freeman is more like Alvin Kamara.
Garrett Griffin was replaced with Juwan Johnson, and I think Griffin could easily be a practice squad addition. However, big changes include adding Chris Hogan at receiver along with Ty Montgomery.
Michael Thomas isn't expected to be available to start the season, and his timetable is somewhat unknown. Lil'Jordan Humphrey has shown some growth, but it feels like they'd turn to the vets over him to make things work in the early stages.
Defensive Line (9): Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Carl Granderson, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Payton Turner, Shy Tuttle, Malcolm Roach, Jalen Dalton, Christian Ringo
Linebacker (6): Demario Davis, Kwon Alexander, Zack Baun, Pete Werner, Kaden Elliss, Andrew Dowell
Cornerback (5): Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo, Patrick Robinson, Ken Crawley, Grant Haley
Safety (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Williams, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, J.T. Gray, P.J. Williams
David Onyemata will start the year suspended, and both Jalen Dalton and Christian Ringo have been running with the first team and are doing good jobs in the early stages of training camp. Dalton would be a lock for the roster, and someone we've talked about for months.
The one player I hate leaving off at defensive end is Noah Spence. The veteran pass rusher has really come to play in camp, and the Saints are helping his case with some versatility at linebacker in addition to just being an edge guy. Perhaps more reps and work could help his stock, and if he does keep it going, he could find himself a roster spot.
The linebacker room shakes up a few things with the addition of Kwon Alexander, and the way Andrew Dowell has been flashing daily at camp, I'd give him the spot over Chase Hansen. It's going to be tough when final cuts come, but one or two moments in a preseason game could really boost Dowell's stock. Keep an eye on him.
No real surprises in the secondary. Grant Haley missed most of the first part of training camp, and for good reason. The veterans the Saints brought in like Brian Poole and Prince Amukamara could make a push here, especially if the Saints want someone like Poole for his special teams upside over Haley. However, for now we give the benefit of the doubt to Haley.
Special Teams (3)
Kicker (1): Wil Lutz
Punter (1): Blake Gillikin
Long Snapper (1): Zach Wood
Blake Gillikin has looked very impressive, while Nolan Cooney struggled a good bit. Gillikin showed he was human in practice on Saturday, but rebounded nicely. Meanwhile, Cooney picked things up in the competition. However, Gillikin is pretty solid. Don't call this battle yet, but it's not far away from being over.
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- 2021 Saints 53-Man Roster Predictions: Offense
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