New Orleans Saints: 3 breakout candidates for 2021 season

Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Saints
Marcus Davenport #92 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints enter a new era for the organization and it’ll be interesting to see how this team does without Drew Brees taking the snaps. If the Saints want to compete for a playoff spot in 2021, they’ll need under-the-radar players to step up and have monster seasons.

It’s important for the offensive skill players to make plays because this team will need a boost with a new quarterback throwing the football. The wide receivers not named Michael Thomas and tight ends have to up the ante and be reliable pass-catchers to help out whoever wins the starting quarterback job.

As for the defense, it projects as a top 10 unit still despite losing Trey Hendrickson and Sheldon Rankins in free agency. While those two were fun to watch in New Orleans, Hendrickson didn’t pop until his final season with the Saints while Rankins was mostly a disappointment as a former first-round draft pick. Still, the defense has to be able to play well and keep the team in games.

Let’s take a look at three Saints who could have breakout seasons in 2021.

New Orleans Saints who could breakout in 2021 – No. 3: Marcus Davenport

I mentioned how Rankins was a disappointing first-round pick and Marcus Davenport is on a similar trajectory despite the Saints picking up his fifth-year option. This ties Davenport to New Orleans for two more years and, if they’re lucky, picking up that fifth-year option will look like a genius move despite the lack of production.

The Saints traded up to the No. 14 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to nab Davenport and he has not lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him. He started to look as though as he was rounding the corner in 2019 with his six sacks but his 2020 season showed that might have been a fluke, as he had just 1.5 sacks through 11 games and only started one game.

Davenport has to show something this year with Hendrickson’s departure and now he’ll have more of an opportunity to take center stage. This is the perfect opportunity for Davenport to put on a clinic in the Big Easy in 2021.