Saints Draft

Saints: Which UDFAs have the best shot at making the 53-man roster?

Darral Nail
New Orleans Saints - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Orleans Saints
Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Bryce Thompson (0) – Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the highlights of each New Orleans Saints preseason is the positional camp battles that seem to set the tone for that year’s training camp. While the team’s 2021 version figures to feature a few high-profile auditions for starting spots, the intense, do-or-die competition for the team’s final roster spots should include a healthy dose of this year’s class of undrafted college players.

Rookie UDFAs have historically found the roster odds to their liking in New Orleans under head coach Sean Payton, counting among them fan favorites such as Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Khyri Robinson, Josh Hill, and Lance Moore.

Among last year’s UDFA class alone, two players (Marquez Callaway and Malcolm Roach) would emerge as instant contributors, while four more from the group would make appearances on the Saints’ regular-season roster.

While it is incumbent upon each first-year player to do what it takes to carve out an on-field role with their new employer, including the special team play that can so often sway a roster decision in a rookie’s direction, the situation that a particular player inherits among their individual position group can go a long way toward determining whether an undrafted player will emerge from preseason camp with a spot on the team.

Despite not hearing their names called during this year’s NFL draft, the UDFAs will nonetheless be given the opportunity to compete for a spot on the team’s 53-man roster in advance of the 2021 season opener versus Green Bay.

In grouping the team’s rookie UDFAs by their likelihood of making the Saints’ regular-season roster, we will begin with the players whose potential path to the 53-man roster appears most fraught.

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