Saints training camp position battles that will be worth watching

Trevor Penning, New Orleans Saints - Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Penning, New Orleans Saints - Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Orleans Saints
Abram Smith — Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

Saints Position Battle No. 2: Tony Jones, Jr. vs Abram Smith at running back

Let’s state the very obvious at running back to begin. Alvin Kamara is number one and Mark Ingram is number two. The battle is for RB3 barring suspension or injury.

Of course, the problems are that Kamara is likely to face some kind of suspension stemming from an offseason nightclub incident, and Mark Ingram, who will turn 33 during the season, is at an age where he probably won’t hold up as well as he used to.

Father Time is still undefeated. Most running backs past 30 years of age are pushing the clock.

Tony Jones, Jr. opened a lot of eyes during last year’s preseason but struggled mightily (2.6 yards/carry) when called up for duty when facing first-stringers during the regular season. Pass-catching didn’t appear to be a great strength of his, either.

At first glance, an undrafted free agent may not pose such a tough test, but Abram Smith was one of the highest-rated UDFAs when this year’s draft ended.

Smith played for the high-flying Baylor offense while setting the school record with 1,601 rushing yards last year. He also caught 13 passes, so he has potential there, too.

What kind of tough running would you expect from a linebacker with vision, moves, and speed? 

In 2020, Smith was shifted over to linebacker to fill a need there before moving back to running back last season. He, like Alontae Taylor, also excelled on special teams.

Tony Jones, Jr. needs to show last year’s preseason wasn’t a fluke because his spot on the 53-man roster is in serious question.