Saints: Adam Trautman poised for “breakout” sophomore year

Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Saints tight end Adam Trautman will shoulder a lot of responsibility going into the 2021 season, and some believe that pressure will make him an even better player.

Josh Edwards at CBS Sports recently shared a list of 11 NFL players poised for a strong second season, with the qualifier that “each player was not present on the regular-season finale rookie rankings.” The list, which mostly consisted of wide receivers, included Trautman given the bigger role he’ll be expected to play this year.

Edwards writes:

"New Orleans parted ways with veteran tight end Jared Cook this offseason, which organically creates more opportunities for Trautman, who is a rather large, athletic tight end formerly of Dayton…The Saints lack true vertical pressing options in the pass game so one would expect there to be a lot happening near the line of scrimmage regardless of whether or not Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill is starting."

As New Orleans’ No. 1 tight end, Trautman will automatically step into the role Cook left behind, but he’ll still have to fight to keep the position after a mediocre rookie season.

Last year, Trautman hauled in 15 of 16 targets for 171 yards and a touchdown, but the kicker is that Jared Cook was targeted more than Trautman, and Cook started fewer games than Trautman did.

Overall, Trautman played in 37 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, so he did have a contributing role in the offense. This year, with the Saints’ wide receiver starting lineup still in question, expect Trautman to eat up more targets than ever before.

New Orleans Saints tight end Adam Trautman could break out this season

As Edwards points out, Trautman should enjoy higher levels of production in 2021 regardless of whether Winston or Hill is starting. Each quarterback has a different advantage when it comes to playing with Trautman. Winston proved he has historically good chemistry with his tight ends from his Bucs days, but Hill actually took the field with Trautman by his side last season.

Payton’s offensive heavy tight end-usage scheme also helps Trautman’s case. In the past 10 years, the Saints’ No. 1 tight end has almost always finished in the top three on the team in targets.

The last two years saw Cook dominate as a pass-catcher on the field. In years prior, tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Ben Watson also got targeted quite frequently, though with the added benefit of playing with a prime Drew Brees.

Trautman’s size and stature makes him potentially one of the Saints’ biggest red-zone targets, but Edwards makes a good point about New Orleans lacking true vertical threats. If the Saints find Trautman, it’ll most likely be along the line of scrimmage where Trautman can exploit his physicality to gain significant yards.

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The stage is set for Trautman to have his breakout year. He needs only step up and take it.