Predicting the Saints roster 2018: Offensive line – (Yardbarker)
With training camp still weeks away, the battles to see who the backup offensive linemen will be is going to be one of the most intense of 2018.
Who Dat Dish is getting an early start on predicting the Saints 53-man roster for 2018. We’ve already started with the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Today we take a look at the offensive line. The starting five are set in stone. The battles for the guys behind them will be intense.
The starting five will be Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Max Unger, Larry Warford and Ryan Ramczyk from left to right. Armstead is finally looking healthy after nagging injuries have plagued his last couple of years with the Saints. That’s a huge deal.
Ditto with Andrus Peat who expects to be 100-percent for training camp. Unger and Warford are playing like the veteran pros the Saints expected when they were signed. And Ryan Ramczyk quietly became one of the best right tackles in the NFL in his rookie season.
The Saints run game in 2017, obviously, profited from strong offensive line play. And Drew Brees was one of the least sacked quarterbacks in the league. All good there.
The concern with this unit is depth. Senio Kelemete is now a Houston Texan. He was the workhorse for the O-line for the past few seasons. Always ready to jump in if needed and able to play at a high level. He deserved a starting gig.
The Saints will likely keep ten offensive linemen on the roster for the regular season. So the last five openings will be hotly contested.
Replacing a versatile player like Kelemete is a huge deal. The Saints looked to add some depth in the 2018 NFL Draft by taking Florida State tackle Rick Leonard in the fourth round. That still looks like a reach but hopefully they know something the rest of the world doesn’t. LSU center/guard Will Clapp was added in the seventh round.
They’ll be put in the fire early and often in training camp. Both will be expected to be on the roster for the regular season.
Former Saints tackle Jermon Bushrod was brought back in free agency. He’ll be expected to be available should something happen to Terron Armstead and possibly fill in on some jumbo packages. He’s a veteran presence that should help a lot. Especially with the continuing education of Ryan Ramczyk.
There are too many other offensive linemen headed into training camp to go into in depth here. So we’ll focus on the ones with a strong chance to make the squad. We’ve already taken up eight roster spots with the starting five, Bushrod, Leonard and Clapp.
Clapp could be a candidate for the practice squad solely based on where he was drafted. The Saints seem to be high on second year player Cameron Tom out of Southern Miss. He is mostly a center but you can assume he’ll be cross-trained at guard.
Then there’s newcomer Trevor Darling who the Saints just signed last week. The former Miami Hurricane started most of his four-year career with the Canes. Most recently as a guard, but he played left tackle in his 2015-2016 seasons.
The final ten
There’s also Josh LeRibeus who filled in at times at guard for the Saints in 2017. And third-year man Landon Turner has a lot of promise at guard as well. These are the names to keep an eye on.
My prediction for the final ten is Armstead, Peat, Unger, Warford, Ramczyk, Bushrod, Leonard, LeRibeus, Tom and Darling. Will Clapp will be on the practice squad.
This will be one of the most highly contested position groups in training camp. Much will depend on health and who shows up ready. There may well be some surprises. With this many players in camp, especially with so much youth, there are veterans who might not make the cut. Not within the starting five, but a player like Jermon Bushrod who’s older, may find themselves on the outside looking in.
Read the Yardbarker article:
#SAINTSNEWS #SAINTS #YARDBARKER