3 most important players on the Saints who are not starters

Kristen Wong
Saints. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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New Orleans Saints
Carl Granderson, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Saints’ Player No. 1: Carl Granderson

Here’s a name you may not have heard in a while. Defensive end Carl Granderson is entering his fourth year with the Saints and has only three starts for the team. Could he grow into a more dangerous threat on the edge in 2022?

Originally undrafted in 2019, Granderson nonetheless has shown plenty of potential in the pass-rushing unit and continues to improve in all categories from disrupting opposing quarterbacks to defending against the run.

At just 25 years old, the young pass-rusher has recorded eight sacks, 17 quarterback hits, 26 pressures, and eight tackles for loss in the last two seasons. He started three games and played a career-high 448 defensive snaps in 2021, which exceeds his combined total from his first two years in New Orleans.

This season, Granderson faces tough competition in 2021 first-rounder Payton Turner and Marcus Davenport with veteran Cam Jordan not yet ready to give up his throne.

Given Davenport’s injury-prone history and Turner’s relative inexperience, Granderson has an opportunity to work his way up the depth chart and establish himself as a reliable edge-rusher, perhaps enjoying his best season yet.

All signs point to Granderson continuing to hone his craft and getting more playing time in 2022, and if he plays his cards right, he could become one of the Saints’ most prolific sack-artists this year. With Jordan entering the backend of his career, someone needs to step up, and Granderson can fill in for rotational duties at the very least.

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Don’t let Granderson’s lack of starting experience fool you — he’s an athletic and talented pass-rusher up for the challenge in the 2022 season.