Who Dat Dish

6 young players that give the New Orleans Saints hope

Kenny Stills, Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Kenny Stills, Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (22) – Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

4. C.J. Gardner-Johnson (23)

The Saints wisely spent a fourth-round pick on C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the 2019 NFL Draft and the Florida product has played way better than a Day 3 pick. He turns 24 next month and will hit free agency following next season but I’m including him with the hopes of the Saints retaining him following the 2022 season.

Gardner-Johnson’s 55.1 PFF grade is a strong indicator of what the safety has provided the defense with this year. He’s also feisty as hell, as evidenced by his comments after picking off Tom Brady when the Buccaneers visited the Saints on Halloween.

Unfortunately, Gardner-Johnson was injured in the loss to Atlanta and that’s a huge loss if he can’t return in the coming weeks. The Saints heavily depend on CJGJ in their secondary and he’s a huge part of this defense.

As mentioned, Gardner-Johnson has one year remaining on his contract (assuming that New Orleans doesn’t extend him before next season), which is why he’s not higher on this list. Maybe we see him with the Saints past 2022 but if not, he won’t be a part of the future, unfortunately.

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