Saints training camp previews roll on, as the first fan experience is just a week away. Next Friday will be one of seven open practices that anyone can attend, assuming you reserved a ticket for the event. There will be another one on Saturday, and then you'll have to wait until Aug. 5, but will have three straight days to see New Orleans practice.
Today's camp focus is on the defensive ends, who are a big strength going into the new season.
Saints Defensive End Depth Chart
- Cam Jordan
- Marcus Davenport
- Payton Turner
- Tanoh Kpassagnon
- Carl Granderson
- Noah Spence
- Christian Ringo
The Big Guns
The Saints had 45 sacks in 2020 (4th in NFL), and 13.5 came from Trey Hendrickson. He's moved on to the Bengals, cashing in on a big free-agent contract. So now, New Orleans will need their duo of Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport to produce in a big way.
Jordan isn't far removed from his career year in 2019, finishing with 15.5 sacks. He's racked up 94.5 total with the Saints and trails Rickey Jackson (115) by 20.5. While Pro Football Reference did an excellent job capturing sack dates prior to 1982, the league is not planning to use that data. Last season was a bit disappointing in the sack department, and Jordan will be the first to tell you that. Look for that to change in 2021.
As for Davenport, he is the great unknown. This has been the first time that he's been able to participate in an offseason workout program, and he revealed in late April that a lot of different things affected him in his first few seasons. The Saints believe in him and his abilities, so much so that they picked up his fifth-year option. Needless to say, this is his most important season.
Not To Be Forgotten
Carl Granderson has had some entertaining workout videos this offseason and looks like someone who could make a big leap this year. The Saints also went out and signed Tanoh Kpassagnon in free agency, and brought back Noah Spence, who was sidelined last season due to a torn ACL.
New Orleans also brought back Christian Ringo on a reserve/future deal. Ringo joined the team in early November via the practice squad and would be there until getting released in early January. Just a week later, he was re-signed on a reserve/future contract.
Both Granderson and Kpassagnon look to be key pieces of depth to backup Davenport and Jordan, but they will be challenged.
The Saints shocked many by taking Houston's Payton Turner at 28th Overall in the draft. There's a lot of intrigue in him, and he's one we can't wait to see on the field. He's talked about his style of play, saying that he likes to be a violent presence on the edge and turns into a different guy on the field, regardless of it being practice or an actual game.
New Orleans has been a different animal getting after the passer, and it's not a mistake. Ryan Nielsen has done an excellent job with the group, and the Packers almost pried him away, but the Saints did the right thing for him and added assistant head coaching duties to his defensive line responsibilities. Nielsen should be able to harness Turner's abilities and help make him a star.
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