Aug 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Todd Davis (95) reacts after recovering a fumble during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Saints won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
The final preseason game will not feature many, if any, of the starting twenty-two players for the New Orleans Saints roster this season. You might be thinking, why watch then? For the Saints, this is a fantastic chance to pen in those final spots for the practice squad, and possibly the 53-man roster. The team hosts the Baltimore Ravens Thursday evening at the Superdome.
Here are my five players I’m watching for this week’s matchup:
As a disclaimer, each of these players’ roster fate rests on how they play against the Ravens.
Kasim Edebali, Linebacker
Let’s think about this. Victor Butler, Rufus Johnson Jr. (converted from linebacker), and Kevin Reddick were among the first cuts for the New Orleans Saints. For a player like Edebali, this is a perfect opportunity for him to shine and steal a roster spot for the Saints. Whether or not he merits a permanent spot on the Saints 53-man roster will be up to him, but I can definitely see practice squad in his future as a worst case scenario. Edebali has a lot of upside.
Derek Dimke, Kicker
This has been perhaps the most interesting battle of the Saints’ offseason, as Derek Dimke and Shayne Graham continue to battle back and forth. Both kickers have had their hits and misses, and this should be all about Dimke tomorrow evening. Look for the Saints to call on him several times, as they have a very difficult decision at hand for deciding their final kicker for Week One.
Brandon Deaderick, Nose Tackle
With John Jenkins out the picture, Deaderick has been able to make a subtle name for himself on the Saints defense. We have seen players perform well in the preseason, and then fail to make the final roster. There was previous speculation that the team could part ways with defensive end Glenn Foster to make room for Deaderick. The team remains high on Foster, but the versatility of Deaderick at nose tackle and defensive end speaks volumes for his chances.
Todd Davis, Linebacker
It’s not entirely out of the question for Todd Davis to make the roster this season. Last season, the Saints had nine linebackers in Week One (three outside and six inside). I’d love to think that rookies Ronald Powell and Khairi Fortt should be on the final roster this season, so Davis might have to edge out Kasim Edebali for a spot. The keyword here is: might.
Brian Dixon, Cornerback
Dixon struggled heavily in pass coverage during the first preseason game against the Rams. However, Dixon has been making a name for himself with his abilities on special teams, and made an interception against the Colts last week. Perhaps his play forced an early exit for Rod Sweeting. Dixon has said he’ll ‘do whatever it takes’ to make the team. We’ll get to see a lot of him against the Ravens.
Have any game predictions? Let us know below!