The New Orleans Saints are two days removed from their 2019 preseason opener. The one of the more exciting camp battles is the receiver position because of the young talent brought in. Michael Thomas, Teddy Ginn Jr, and Tre’Quan Smith are locked to roster spots unless something crazy happens. That leaves 2-3 spots that players are going to tussle over. The Rishard Matthews release which was surprising, does clear things up, and allow for younger guys to receive more repetitions.
Lil’Jordan Humphrey made a case for himself against the Vikings the other night. He was able to display his big ability, strength/physicality, and run after catch skills. He didn’t do himself any favors during the pre draft workout process by producing a slow forty yard dash time in the 4.8 range. Running slow definitely may have allowed him the opportunity to sign with the Saints though. His college production could have easily got him drafted to another team. He has versatility playing inside in the slot and outside receiver. Keep an eye on him throughout camp.
Some people want the Saints to bring Dez Bryant back to New Orleans. That is a possibility, but a player with a similar playing style is already on the team and turning heads. Emmanuel Butler missed the opening preseason game, but seem to be making multiple big plays per day, and some against stud cornerback Marshon Lattimore. We will have to wait to see if he can translate to plays to an actual NFL game, but the anticipation is definitely running on all cylinders.
Keith Kirkwood is a 2nd year player who helped make key plays down the stretch last year. He has an advantage because of the actual game experience, and more time with Drew and Sean Payton. He has good size to pair with his overall balanced receiving skillset. He missed game 1 of preseason as well, but expect him back soon.
Simmie Cobbs Jr. is the biggest body of the bunch. He is not blazing fast, but when you have jumping plus box out ability, separation becomes less of a big deal. He is similar to Humphrey because he didn’t test all that well, but if you can play than that’s all that matters.
Cyril Grayson and Deonte Harris are speed on steroids. Both guys may not have the best chance of making the team just because of the potential depth ahead of them. Special teams would be the most likely way to occupy a spot on the 53 man roster and earn an offensive role after that. Not taking anything away from either guy because both have wowed in training camp. If they made the roster, there would be no disappointment from me.
Austin Carr is also in the fight. He was stolen away from the Patriots a couple training camps ago. He is what you think when you imagine a slot wide receiver. He has experience as an advantage for him, but he still needs to outshine a number of other receivers.
This year’s training camp has been fun to watch for the short amount of time it has been going. There are plenty of guys making plays that will be cut because going from 90 players to 53 is a huge drop off. Hopefully some of these guys can reside on thee practice squad and be ready if their number is called.