2018 New Orleans Saints starters, 53-man roster, schedule prediction – (Yardbarker) Saints News

 

2018 New Orleans Saints starters, 53-man roster, schedule
prediction – (Yardbarker)

The New Orleans Saints finalized their 53-man roster on Saturday, making the surprise move to release veteran running back Jonathan Williams, who was expected to help fill in for Mark Ingram. Here’s the full roster, sorted by position, with my game-by-game predictions on the side:

QUARTERBACK (3): Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill.

The Saints made one of their biggest splashes of the offseason three days before roster cuts were due — trading a third-round draft pick to the New York Jets for Bridgewater and a sixth-round pick. It was a hefty price to pay for a one-year rental of a backup QB. But now the Saints arguably have the most stacked quarterback room in the entire NFL.

RUNNING BACK (2): Alvin Kamara, Boston Scott, (*Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games).

This group is a big surprise after New Orleans cut more experienced veterans Jonathan Williams and Terrance West and placed veteran Shane Vereen on injured reserve. There’s a good chance they’ll add another body before Week 1. But this speaks volumes about how impressive the rookie sixth-round draft pick Scott has been.

FULLBACK (2): Zach Line, Trey Edmunds.

The Saints wouldn’t normally keep two fullbacks. But Edmunds is really a special teams player, first and foremost. And he can also serve as a backup running back if needed.

WIDE RECEIVER (6): Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Cameron Meredith, Tre’Quan Smith, Austin Carr, Tommylee Lewis.

This group is jam-packed — so it’s possible that either Meredith or Carr could be inactive in Week 1. Meredith finally had a breakout game in the preseason finale with two catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. But he is still trying to find his groove after missing all of last season with a major knee injury, then missing a couple weeks in training camp with a minor injury.

TIGHT END (3): Benjamin Watson, Josh Hill, Dan Arnold.

Arnold is perhaps the most unlikely member of New Orleans’ 53-man roster after spending last season on injured reserve as an undrafted wide receiver, then converting to tight end this summer. But the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder (and growing) was impressive enough as a pass-catcher to earn his keep as a potential mismatch.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Max Unger, Terron Armstead, Larry Warford, Andrus Peat, Ryan Ramczyk, Jermon Bushrod, Cameron Tom, Will Clapp.

The Saints had it made in recent years when veteran backup Senio Kelemete was a reliable backup at all five o-line positions before he signed as a starter with the Houston Texans in free agency. So they signed Bushrod in free agency, and they went with two young backups they really like in the interior in Tom and Clapp. One of their most notable cuts was rookie fourth-round draft pick Rick Leonard, who didn’t come along as quickly at offensive tackle as they’d hoped.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Cameron Jordan, Sheldon Rankins, Alex Okafor, Tyeler Davison, Marcus Davenport, David Onyemata, Trey Hendrickson, Mitchell Loewen, Taylor Stallworth.

The Saints had some of their toughest decisions here, where they kept impressive undrafted rookie Stallworth over guys like veteran Jay Bromley, veteran George Johnson, former sixth-round draft pick Al-Quadin Muhammad and impressive first-year pro Devaroe Lawrence. Fortunately the rest of the league was paying attention, so they were at least able to trade Lawrence to the Cleveland Browns for a seventh-round draft pick.

LINEBACKER (6): Demario Davis, A.J. Klein, Alex Anzalone, Manti Te’o, Craig Robertson, Nathan Stupar.

One position with no real surprises. The Saints had six solid veterans that they liked, and they kept all six. One cut of note — they parted ways with former second-round draft pick Hau’oli Kikaha, who tried to make the conversion from DE to OLB but just didn’t have an ideal position fit.

SECONDARY (11): Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, Kurt Coleman, Ken Crawley, Patrick Robinson, Vonn Bell, P.J. Williams, Chris Banjo, Arthur Maulet, Justin Hardee, J.T. Gray.

This had to be the Saints’ toughest position group to evaluate, hands down. They cut fifth-round draft pick Natrell Jamerson, sixth-round draft pick Kamrin Moore and impressive veteran newcomer Marcus Williams (the cornerback, not the safety), among others. Meanwhile, Gray was one of only two undrafted rookies who made the cut – largely due to his special teams ability.

SPECIALIST (3): Punter Thomas Morstead, kicker Wil Lutz, long snapper Zach Wood.

Pretty easy choices since the Saints only had one of each in camp.

RETURNERS: Lewis, Scott, Ginn, Kamara

This was one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, since it looked like veteran receiver/return specialist Brandon Tate had a good grip on this role after signing on Aug. 1. Instead, it looks like the Saints will stick with last year’s primary return man, Lewis, and possibly give Scott a few chances in both the kickoff and punt return roles. Ginn is also an experienced punt returner. And they might use Kamara on kickoffs if they need some juice late in the season — though they don’t want to overwork him.

Read the Yardbarker article:
www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/280024/2018-new-orleans-saints-starters-53-man-roster-schedule-prediction

#SAINTSNEWS #SAINTS #YARDBARKER

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