New Orleans Saints’ receiver Emmanuel Butler has competition when it comes to cracking the 53-man roster, and he’s got ground to gain on some of the others.
The New Orleans Saints will have a talented receiving corp when it’s all said on done. However, filling out that roster will be especially difficult given the talent that the team has at the high-impact position.
Michael Thomas is the clear-cut No. 1. Thomas is a top-five receiver in the league. The team even has a clear-cut No. 2 in Ted Ginn Jr., who isn’t on the same level as Thomas yet still a notch above the rest.
It gets cloudy after Ginn Jr.
Emmanuel Butler, who has been impressing with his difficult one-handed catches in practice, will need to make his on-field talent known in the team’s Week 2 matchup with Los Angeles. Butler was out against Minnesota with an undisclosed injury.
For New Orleans, it seems likely the team will keep around five or six receivers on the 53-man roster. That said, per NOLA.com’s Herbie Teope, Butler should make his long-awaited preseason debut later today.
"All signs point to his preseason debut Sunday. Butler has shown he can make plays in practice, and now it’s time to see how well he can do in live action as he makes a push to make the initial 53-player roster."
Out of Northern Arizona, Butler signed a three-year deal with the Saints earlier this offseason. A huge 6-foot-4 target, Butler poses length that could present problems all over the field for defenses.
Butler had his best college season back in 2015. He notched over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns. Back at 100%, it’s time Butler shows what made him such an elite receiver and such a highly sought after prospect.
There are many receivers that’ve already performed well that Butler will be fighting for a spot with. Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Tre’Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood and Simmie Cobbs Jr. have all have locked up positions. Austin Carr is still in the hunt.
If Butler thrives, one of those four locks may not have a guaranteed spot after all. That said, the Saints have no idea what Butler will be like in his first NFL action.
However, if it’s anything like his impressive camp, they expect him to gain ground on the others receivers fairly quickly. Let’s just saw the Saints’ coaching staff isn’t the only one looking forward to his debut.
Per NOLA.com, Butler has always dreamt of playing in the league.
"“It’s exciting,” Butler said. “This is what I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little kid — playing NFL football."
Given the Derwin James injury, they won’t get to see him against what could’ve been one of the league’s best secondaries. Either way, Butler’s debut will be one of the main features of the game as New Orleans will take on Los Angeles with a scheduled 3 p.m. kickoff.