New Orleans Saints: 3 position battles to keep an eye on

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(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

No. 3 wide receiver

We know the team’s top wide receiver is Michael Thomas, and although replaceable, we know the No. 2 will be Ted Ginn Jr. After that, the competition is wide open, and it’ll likely continue throughout the entire season.

For now, the fight is between Tre’Quan Smith, Simmie Cobbs Jr., and Keith Kirkwood, each having a claim to the spot.

As for Smith, he was the team’s third-most used receiver last season. However, as for the current fight, last season’s numbers can cause confusion. While Smith did have two 100-yard-plus games, he played in 15 of the 16 games.

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In the team’s first preseason game, Smith totaled 16 yards on just two receptions, being targeted three times. Per Pro Football Focus (premium content), Smith has the team’s eight-highest receiving grade against Minnesota. Smith stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 210 pounds.

The second option for New Orleans is Simmie Cobbs Jr. who is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds.

Cobbs Jr. was signed last season after spending some time with the Redskins. He didn’t make it on the field after signing with the Saints in December of 2018. Expected to make the team and be used often, Cobbs Jr. caught just one of three targets in the Saints’ preseason opener.

Lastly, Keith Kirkwood should compete for the No. 3 role.

Playing last season’s first eight games, Kirkwood returned from injury in the playoffs, catching both targets against Philadelphia. At 6-foot-3, Kirkwood, like Cobbs Jr., is a bit taller, presenting more potential mismatch opportunities.

Overall, Kirkwood must differentiate himself from the two. That said, Kirkwood was out for the team’s first preseason.

Lil’Jordan Humphrey is also a notable mention. The rookie was the team’s best receiver in their first preseason game, securing both targets for over 40 yards and the team’s only receiving touchdown. He should make the roster but not truly compete for the No. 3 spot.