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Saints Position Battle Rankings Ahead of Preseason Game 2

Douglas DeFelice | USA Today

We have some insane depth. I feel like almost anyone we cut at this point could end up on a 53-man roster and not really surprise anyone. Before that happens though, they are competing for a spot on our roster. As we approach our Preseason Week 2 Matchup vs the Cards, who should you keep your eye on as these position battles flesh out?

Back-Up QB Battle

Locked-In Spot: Drew Brees, duh

  1. Tom Savage – While the prospect of this isn’t as exciting as Taysom Hill, it’s certainly more practical. My main reason for putting him as the lead is just that he has actual NFL experience.

  2. Taysom Hill – I love Hill just as much as the next guy, but he needs to work on being a passer first and using his legs, as good as they are, second.

  3. JT Barrett – He hasn’t been terrible, but he’s definitely more of a prospect than a contender for the Back-Up QB spot.

Ingram Replacement

Locked-In Spots: Kamara and Scott

*Side note: I’m not putting Boston Scott in this group because I think he’ll get his own playing time outside of the role we are missing with Ingram being gone the first 4 games.

  1. Jonathan Williams – The third year player made his presence known in Week 1 against the Jags rushing for 26 yards and a touchdown on 4 carries. That performance has only made him work harder in camp, getting people to talk about him daily. Consistently moving up the camp rotation, I’ll be eager to see if he gets some time against the Cardinals starters, so we can really test his skills.

  2. Terrance West – We picked him up from Baltimore for a reason, he seems to have a similar skill set to Ingram so I can see him easily fitting into that role if he wins it.

  3. Shane Vereen – While I see him having been brought in as a veteran camp body, if he shows off, he could certainly make a push for a roster spot.

Wide Receiver 5/6

Locked-In Spots: Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr, Tre’Quan Smith, and Cameron Meredith

  1. TommyLee Lewis – He brings a good and familiar return game and has been with the team long enough that I see him as the most likely make the roster as a 5th wide receiver.

  2. Michael Floyd – As a veteran who in the past has proved he can be a 1,000 yard receiver, if we go for a 6th receiver, and he keeps getting back into shape like he has been, I see him making the team.

  3. Brandon Tate – Tate mainly brings a return presence, so if he really shows off in that role I can see us keeping him.

  4. Keith Kirkwood – I’m super excited for him as a prospect, but he looks like he needs to get a little more used to the NFL game to make our roster.

  5. Austin Carr – Last year’s Pats preseason star has had a fairly quiet camp, but has been on the up in the past week so don’t be surprised if he moves further up in this competition.

6th O-Lineman

Locked-In Spots: Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Max Unger, Larry Warford, Ryan Ramczyk

  1. Jermon Bushrod – Bushrod is at the top mainly because he has the most experience on both the edge and interior of the line, so we can use him in the most scenarios, similar to the role we used Senio Kelemete in.

  2. Will Clapp – The 7th round pick, has had his ups and downs throughout camp, but seeing a lot of action in the Jaguars game, he’s being given a chance, but really only plays on the interior.

  3. Josh Leribeus – Leribeus has been getting some improved play in the rotation, but really has the same game as Clapp mainly working in the interior.

4th/5th Cornerback

Locked-In Spots: Marshon Lattimore, Ken Crawley, Patrick Robinson

  1. Arthur Maulet – Maulet is back again with the pre-season hype. Having an amazing camp, and even coming up with an impressive pass break-up in the Jaguars game he’s my favorite to win the spot behind P-Rob.

  2. Natrell Jamerson – The rookie brings a lot of versatility and that really helps his chances. He played WR, Safety, CB, and both sides of Special Teams in college. If he can continue showing his wide skill set, I can definitely see him making the roster.

  3. Justin Hardee – Hardee brings and insane, pro-bowl caliber special teams game, so that will definitely be what keeps him here if we can’t find a replacement for that in Jamerson.

  4. PJ Williams – He hasn’t done that much to impress me, and seeing how he is injured I don’t see that happening in the week 2 game, but when he returns, we’ll see if he can show us why we need to keep him.

LB Rotation

Locked-In Spots: Demario Davis, AJ Klein, Craig Robertson, Alex Anzalone

  1. Manti Te’o – Te’o is a sure-fire pick for a 53-man roster spot. He brings a great chemistry, and has greatly improved his game since joining our team.

  2. Hau’oli Kikaha – Kikaha is on our roster as a Strong-side linebacker, but is mainly a pass rusher, he’s not wasting his opportunity and has made some big plays this camp and in the Jaguars game to prove that he needs to make our roster.

  3. Jayrone Elliott – It’s no secret how good of a game Elliott had vs the Jags, but that was against some lower-end depth guys. Now it’s better than not doing anything, but I’ll be interested to see him in an improved role in the Cardinals game. He also is in the same boat as Kikaha as being a Strong-side linebacker/Pass Rusher.

  4. Nate Stupar – His expertise in the Special Teams game, being a ST Captain, will likely push him to a roster spot, yet again.

  5. Colton Jumper – The UDFA out Tennessee hasn’t done much to prove he NEEDS to be on the roster, but there is still time, even in this stacked LB group (man that feels weird to say about a Saints team.)

Return-Man

Locked-In Spots: It’s a wide open competition.

  1. Boston Scott – After having some good performances, and already being a lock for the roster at the RB position, I have him at the lead of this stacked competition. His biggest run from the last game got called back on a JT Gray holding call. It’ll be fun to see what he can do with some more opportunities next game.

  2. Brandon Tate – He caught eyes early in the Jags game with his 36-yard return that he made look easy. He’s a very experienced return-man and if he continues to take advantage of his opportunity he definitely has a shot at the roster.

  3. Ted Ginn Jr – He’s another experienced return guy, he’s just a point in his career where I’d rather keep his legs fresh for the receiving game.

  4. Natrell Jamerson – He had experience in college, and lately in camp has been getting more opportunities to return the ball. I’m sure he’ll be thrown out there a few times next game.

So these are the battles you need to keep an eye on during our week 2 preseason game vs the Cardinals. It feels good to finally be able to see a real battle where there’s multiple talented guys competing again. What a time to be a Saints fan.