The New Orleans Saints boast a much-improved roster compared to 2021, which means several players’ jobs will be in jeopardy this season.
Some crucial cogs, like Jameis Winston and Alvin Kamara, have permanent roles and will likely only sit on the bench due to injury, but other Saints players don’t get such luxurious guarantees.
There’s no position group the Saints haven’t addressed this offseason — Mickey Loomis and the front office oversaw a number of crucial signings including Andy Dalton, Tyrann Mathieu, and Jarvis Landry, and NOLA may still add more rotational depth before the start of the 2022 season.
As with every new season, the competition is steep, and it’ll be up to every individual player to either carve out a sizable role for himself or else fall far behind. Which Saints need to worry most about their roster spot this year?
Here are four Saints players who could be on their last leg in 2022.
Saints player No. 4: Tony Jones Jr.
Running back Tony Jones Jr. played a career-high 132 offensive snaps last season but still failed to separate himself in a crowded RB room.
In 11 games, Jones recorded 54 carries for 142 yards and averaged a measly 2.6 yards per carry. When Alvin Kamara got injured, Jones got his chance to jump into a more permanent starting role, but he never impressed. Part of the reason may be the Saints’ ailing offensive line at the time, but part of the reason is also Jones’ very limited ceiling.
Heading into 2022, Jones’ role in the backfield is threatened by new talent like Devine Ozigbo and Abram Smith, not to mention Dwayne Washington who has established special teams value.
Hypothetically, if Kamara were to miss time again in 2022, perhaps due to an imminent suspension, we don’t see Jones carving out a unique role for himself in the Saints’ running back committee.
Jones lacks the durability and production to serve as a reliable member of NOLA’s ball-carrying corps, and a decent season by either Ozigbo or Smith would most likely kick Jones further down the depth chart.