The NOLA Saints spent a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Dayton tight end Adam Trautman. The move was considered to be a good one at the time due to what Trautman accomplished during his collegiate career but fast forward two years and he has not looked the part of a third-round pick.
During his final season at Dayton, Trautman racked up 70 catches for 916 yards and found the end zone 14 times. His ability to score touchdowns was what made him such a promising prospect but Trautman hasn’t shown that same flashiness during his time in the pros.
Now, in his defense, during his rookie year he had other players ahead of him on the depth chart and that led to his lackluster freshman season. The 2020 season saw Trautman compile a measly 171 yards and a touchdown, leaving fans feeling underwhelmed.
While he got off to a slow start in year 2, he did end the season with better numbers, finishing with 263 yards and two touchdowns. He had some frustrating moments during the 2021 season but fans did start to see some glimpses of potential there down the stretch.
The 2022 season is do-or-die for Trautman, especially with Taysom Hill transitioning to the tight end position full-time. He now has to compete for targets with Hill, Juwan Johnson, Nick Vannett, and UDFA Lucas Krull.
NOLA Saints TE Adam Trautman has to show why he was a third-round pick
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report wrote that Trautman is the Saints’ best-kept secret and had this to say:
"For a decent stretch, Trautman became a reliable pass-catcher with a high target volume. For three consecutive outings—Weeks 9 to 11—he had at least six targets and finished with four or more receptions in each of those contests."
Moton likes Trautman’s chances of playing well because of the attention the three wide receivers (Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry) are going to command from the defenses. This is certainly something that could work in Trautman’s favor, as the Saints didn’t have many offensive weapons a season ago and that won’t be the case this year.
Trautman is halfway through his rookie contract and while there are two years remaining on the deal, if he doesn’t show why the team was right to spend a third-round pick on him, he might not get another chance in the 2023 season.
The tight end position really struggled last year and Trautman was supposed to be the one to pick the position up and make it more of a threat. He’ll have more competition for the starting job this year but if he can show some of that potential he had at Dayton, there will absolutely be a place for him on this roster moving forward.
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If he puts together another disappointing campaign in 2022, the Saints are going to have to move on and find another starting tight end.