New Orleans Saints: A ‘Early’ training camp final 53-man roster prediction
By John Hendrix
Over two months ago, I gave you my ‘way too early’ final 53-man roster prediction for the New Orleans Saints. With training camp upon us, it’s time to revisit our original thoughts. Naturally, two glaring holes are missing from this list from last time: Junior Galette and Brodrick Bunkley.
The majority of the NFL teams are currently at 90 players, and will need to trim down to 75 players before the final preseason game. Assembling the 2015 roster will not be easy. Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton will face some major decisions to get down to the final 53-man roster prior to Week 1 of the regular season.
I give you my very best guess as to what the New Orleans Saints roster will look like around September. Keep in mind, injuries are sure to change this.
New players, both rookies and free agents, are denoted in bold.
The ‘Still Early’ New Orleans Saints 53-man roster prediction
Outside of some obvious players, nearly 75 percent of the roster figures to be an easy guess. However, narrowing down the final quarter of the 53-man roster is a lot tougher. When you have nine draft picks to account for, it’s extremely difficult to say they’ll all crack the final roster.
Roster Battle Notes
- I still like Ryan Griffin beating out Luke McCown as the backup to Drew Brees. Unless Garrett Grayson rapidly develops, then the Saints will roll with three quarterbacks again.
- Austin Johnson looked much better than free agent Erik Lorig last year, and a strong camp showing will tab Johnson as the starter. Monetarily speaking, this won’t hurt the Saints much by dropping Lorig.
- Dustin Hopkins gets my nod for the starting kicker job, but this is really anyone’s job.
- Marcus Murphy starts on the non-football injury list, which really gives Tim Hightower a legitimate shot to shine. Hightower was running with the first teams in minicamp, so there could be some magic left in the tank.
- I really like having the Saints carry six wide receivers this season, and they’ll need all of them. I’m really having a tough time putting Nick Toon on this list, but I can’t ignore the praise he’s getting (where have you heard that before?). Rookie R.J. Harris doubles as a special teams ace, and I believe he can put together enough to warrant a spot.
- Carrying an extra tackle on the roster may be a bit excessive, but the Saints shelled out plenty of money to get Sean Hickey during the undrafted rookie free agency frenzy. The Saints may have more looks where they utilize an extra tackle, similar to what they used to do with Zach Strief.
- Unlike others, I’m buying Stanley Jean-Baptiste becoming the player that we all hope he becomes, and saying that Delvin Breaux beats out Kyle Wilson for starting slot/nickel corner duties.
- Defensive tackle got a lot more interesting with the release of Brodrick Bunkley. If the Saints don’t feel comfortable with their interior linemen rotation, then I see them rolling with four DTs. However, if that changes, then I’ll leave Lawrence Virgil off the list for someone else.
- As far as the practice squad goes, I believe that the Saints will try to use as many spots on their current players, but one spot is open.