What will the New Orleans Saints’ defense look like?
The Saints possess quality depth at defensive end after last year’s first-round selection of Payton Turner, who can also slide inside to tackle on obvious passing downs. However, the Saints still lack a true starter opposite David Onyemata at defensive tackle.
Outside of running back, defensive tackle is one position that New Orleans could still address through free agency prior to the start of the preseason. Current co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielson worked wonders with former undrafted free agent defensive lineman Albert Huggins and Malcolm Roach.
New Orleans selected massive DT Jordan Jackson out of Air Force in the sixth round of this year’s NFL Draft. This is one position where training camp and preseason performance will dictate multiple roster spots.
At linebacker, expect fifth-round draft choice D’Marco Jackson to make the opening day roster due to his ability to contribute on special teams. Zack Baun likely will need to show marked improvement this offseason to merit a coveted roster spot, especially if the Saints and incumbent Kwon Alexander agree to a contract once he is fully healthy.
Despite the free-agency loss of Marcus Williams and the unexpected retirement of Malcolm Jenkins, the Saints’ secondary is in great shape.
Keep an eye on second-year CB Bryce Thompson, who has been practicing within the two-deep roster this offseason, as well as UDFA Auburn safety Smoke Monday, who possesses the confidence and playing ability that would fit in well with the DB room.
As expected on a team expected to compete for the NFC title this year, the last couple of roster decisions will be difficult to choose from so many talented players. Due to the expansion of the practice squad, the Saints can afford to keep extra players at certain positions to avoid exposing them to waivers early in the season while maintaining depth through the practice squad.
Which current Saints players will get the last eight roster spots?
Outside of another impactful free agent signing at DT, RB, or LB (Kwon Alexander), these players are likely to get the final spots.
- RB Abram Smith
- TE Lucas Krull
- OL Forrest Lamp
- DT Albert Huggins
- DT Jordan Jackson
- LB Zack Baun
- CB Bryce Thompson
- S Smoke Monday
What do you think, Saints fans? Do you agree that these eight players will make the final roster?