The NOLA Saints had their preseason opener on Saturday and four different running backs got a chance to show why they should (or shouldn’t) be picked to serve as the RB3 this year.
Saturday marked the start of the preseason for the New Orleans Saints and one of the big position battles taking place this summer is at the running back spot. We know that Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram will be the RB1 and RB2 in the offense but with Kamara potentially set to serve a six-game suspension, it’s important that whoever wins the RB3 job is ready to come into this offense and pack a punch.
We got to see all four of the running backs competing for the RB3 job get some carries on Saturday night. Let’s rank the four of them now that we’ve seen them in action for one game.
All stats courtesy of ESPN
4. Abram Smith
The UDFA out of Baylor was once my top pick to win the RB3 job simply because of the amount of money the Saints gave him. While Smith had his fair share of good moments during Saturday’s opener, the costly fumble he had at the goal line definitely put a dent in everything he had accomplished that night.
Smith rushed for 30 yards on seven carries and had one catch for 12 yards but that fumble is going to be what defines him for now. He still has time to change his reputation but he has a lot of work to do in order to do so.
3. Devine Ozigbo
Nebraska product Devine Ozigbo has spent time with the Saints before and the organization clearly likes him. He saw a fair amount of playing time on Saturday and had eight carries for 26 yards but the one catch he had was blown up and he lost a yard on the play.
Ozigbo has experience in the NFL, which could help him in the long run but he’s going to have to bring his A-game for the final two preseason games to be that third-string running back.
2. Tony Jones Jr.
Last year’s preseason star once again showed us that magic during the game against the Texans. Jones surprised us all last year with what he was able to do in the preseason and ultimately, his hard work paid off and he made the roster in place of Latavius Murray.
Jones picked up where he left off last preseason, dashing for 27 yards off seven carries while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. The job isn’t Jones’ yet but he showed a lot of potential in this game so it’s attainable for him to win the crown.
1. Dwayne Washington
The Saints are very familiar with Dwayne Washington and what he can do and that’s why they re-signed him this offseason. Washington has mostly been a special teams guy during his time in the Big Easy but he’s made it apparent that he’s confident about what he can do offensively and he showed it with the first offensive series.
During that series, Washington had a 9-yard touchdown catch from Andy Dalton to put the Saints on the board first. He also rushed the ball nine times for 19 yards. The job probably is Washington’s to lose but if another guy balls out these final two weeks, he could slip in the standings.
For now, however, it feels pretty safe to say that Washington is leading the pack in the RB3 race.
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How would you rank the NOLA Saints’ RB3 candidates?