Saints: Adam Trautman has to take the next leap in 2021

Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Saints‘ tight end position has seen heavy turnover this offseason and that’s why it’s very important for former third-round pick Adam Trautman to progress mightily this year. New Orleans lost Jared Cook to the Chargers and Josh Hill to Detroit (who then retired not long after), so the position looks much different than it did a year ago.

Trautman was taken by the Saints in round three a year ago after putting up monster numbers for the Dayton Flyers. He had 70 receptions and 916 yards during his final year at Dayton and the Saints knew he’d be a project tight end when they took him simply due to playing outside of the Power-5.

His rookie year didn’t see him do much for the Saints offense, catching just 15 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown through 15 games and six starts. Cook was the primary starter for the Saints last year though and that was New Orleans’ plan all along.

With Cook departing in free agency, however, the time is now for Trautman to step up and prove he was worthy of a third-round selection. The Saints also signed Nick Vannett this offseason in the hopes that he could be a nice No. 2 option but Trautman is the one they want carrying the load at the position.

The Saints are depending on Adam Trautman to be more of a force in the offense.

Where Trautman did impress as a rookie was what he did as a blocker, helping open holes in the run game for Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray to do the typical damage they’re used to doing. Considering Dayton didn’t lean on Trautman to block all that much, seeing him do that at the professional level was a good sign of what’s to come.

Back in March, John Sigler of Saints Wire wrote about Trautman being the No. 1 tight end this season. Sigler offered this analysis:

"There’s plenty of reasons to think he’ll step up and succeed, but let’s temper those expectations a bit. He finished ninth on the team in targets (16), totaling 15 receptions for 171 receiving yards and just one touchdown catch. Asking him to triple those numbers would be a tall task, but that’s what it would take for him to approach 500 receiving yards. And don’t underestimate the loss of his position coach Dan Campbell, who’s now the head coach of the Detroit Lions."

The loss of Campbell can’t be overstated here. He took the head coaching job in Detroit and that’s another blow for the position as a whole.

I also liked what Sigler said about how Saints fans shouldn’t expect Trautman to triple his numbers from a season ago because that’s asking a lot of him. To go from 171 yards to over 1,000 between year one and year two isn’t the most realistic expectation but hoping he gets over the 500-yard mark and becomes more of a red-zone target is a loftier goal for the Dayton product.

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The Saints have had some issues finding a dominant tight end since Jimmy Graham was traded years ago (remember Coby Fleener?) and they’re hoping Trautman can end that streak. He’ll have a lot more pressure on him this year but he’ll also be more of the go-to weapon now that he’s tight end No. 1.