The New Orleans Saints will be in trouble if Alvin Kamara gets suspended for a long stretch of the season, but one running back could hugely benefit from Kamara’s absence.
Special teamer Dwayne Washington has served as a very useful situational back since joining NOLA in 2018, and he could be in line for more offensive snaps in 2022.
Drafted in the seventh round by the Detroit Lions back in 2016, Washington has found a home in New Orleans where he’s regarded as a reliable and productive special teams stud. In his Saints career, Washington has recorded 15 coverage stops and one deflected punt, and he also recovered one blocked punt.
In 2021, Washington got a taste of the backfield appearing in 14 games and recording four carries for 16 yards as well as two catches for 12 yards.
He’s clearly made more of an impact on specials teams than on offense, but could 2022 be his year to break through?
Saints’ Dwayne Washington has the potential to be at least RB2 in Kamara’s absence
Should Kamara miss an extended portion of the season, Mark Ingram will likely step up as the new RB1 as both the fan-favorite and consistent veteran. The running back competition behind Ingram includes Washington, Jones, Devine Ozigbo, and Abram Smith currently — of that group, Washington boasts the most experience and could share a rotational role with Ingram come the start of the season.
In his last four seasons in NOLA, Washington’s offensive snap counts have decreased while his special teams snap counts have increased, which could suggest the team values him more as a high-level versatile back.
There’s almost no doubt Washington will make the final roster given his special teams experience, but if he’s aiming for more, the window could be opened with Kamara’s impending suspension.
Training camp will provide the first glimpse at what the Saints’ running back room, sans Kamara, might look like in 2022.