Saints: Juwan Johnson looking to steal starting TE job from Adam Trautman

New Orleans Saints tight end Juwan Johnson (83) -Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints tight end Juwan Johnson (83) -Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Saints decided to have Juwan Johnson transition from wide receiver to tight end and it’s paying dividends for both sides. Johnson has thrived for the Saints since moving to tight end and looked great in the team’s preseason opener in Baltimore, hauling in two catches for 71 yards, good for the team-high in receiving yards.

Johnson has looked good enough throughout training camp and the preseason that there’s a strong case to be made for him being the starting tight end over Adam Trautman when the season kicks off in a few weeks.

The Saints spent a third-round pick on Trautman in last year’s draft and he didn’t impress as a rookie. He mostly served as a blocking tight end during that time and the Saints will obviously use him as a blocker no matter what happens. The hope, however, was that with Jared Cook and Josh Hill no longer in the picture, Trautman would step up and become a bigger force in this offense.

Juwan Johnson is coming for the Saints’ starting tight end job.

Benedetto Vitale of Clutch Points listed Trautman as someone who could lose his starting job and he mentioned Johnson’s improvements as a big reason as to why. He’s thrived as a tight end and with Trautman not showing much and Nick Vannett being nearly invisible, it’s not unfathomable to think Johnson could be the Saints’ starting tight end in Week 1 when the Packers come to town.

Johnson went undrafted out of Oregon and found a home in New Orleans last year. He appeared in seven games with four starts at wide receiver and hauled in four catches for 39 yards, netting three first-downs. The Saints saw something in the former Duck and having him transition to tight end gives him more of an opportunity to use his 6’4″, 230-pound frame and get the better of opponents.

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Trautman had players ahead of him on the depth chart last year but so far, the former Dayton product hasn’t shown much. He has two preseason games to show that he deserves to be the starting tight end but if he continues to be lackluster and Johnson continues to wow, there’s a serious case to be made for Juwan Johnson serving as the starting tight end for the New Orleans Saints.