4 players the NOLA Saints desperately need back after 4-8 start

Leigh Oleszczak
Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints
Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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The 2022 season has not gone well for the New Orleans Saints and it's safe to say that they wish they had these four players back on the roster to help them win what few games they have remaining.

I did not include any players who we probably won't see again this season so leave the Michael Thomas jokes at the door.

Marshon Lattimore

The last time we saw Lattimore suit up and take the field for the Saints was back in Week 5 when the black and gold held off the Seahawks in a 39-32 final. Lattimore was banged up with that one and has not played since while recovering from an abdomen injury.

Lattimore returned to practice last week and was questionable leading up to the game. He didn't end up giving it a go but hopefully, we see him back in the black and gold for a key matchup against the Buccaneers on Monday night.

Without Lattimore, the Saints have given both Paulson Adebo and Alontae Taylor increased roles in the secondary and they've done well. Taylor has had his fair share of rookie mistakes but for the most part, has held up in coverage. It'd still be nice to have Lattimore back though so that Adebo and Taylor don't have to do everything, especially with Bradley Roby now landing on IR.

Erik McCoy

After extending McCoy in the offseason, the anchor of the Saints' o-line was injured in Week 9 and was placed on IR. It's not surprising that the former Texas A&M product was putting together another solid season. He had a 67.1 PFF grade before his injury.

With McCoy out of the picture, the Saints have been rolling with Josh Andrews at center, and... well, it hasn't gone great. He has a 45.3 PFF grade and has mostly struggled as the middle man on the Saints' offensive line. McCoy is desperately needed and hopefully, he's healthy enough to return this season but I'd also understand the team shutting him down to prevent further injury.

Pete Werner

Fortunately, the second-year linebacker out of Ohio State isn't on IR but he's missed the past two games with an ankle injury. While Kaden Elliss has stepped in and played well in Werner's absence, there's no one who can come in and provide what Werner does. The guy is the best tackler on the team with 74 on the year and he's so good at flying all over the field.

Werner not going to IR indicates that perhaps the Saints think he can return either this week or next week. Let's hope that the extra day between the 49ers game and the upcoming Buccaneers game allows Werner to return because the defense needs him!

Payton Turner

The former first-round pick was dinged up in the win over the Rams and did not play this past week. He sustained a lower leg injury in that Rams game and it looked worse than what really happened apparently because New Orleans actually got positive news about Turner and the injury.

While Turner hasn't looked like a first-round pick per-say, he has been a nice depth piece for the Saints this year. He has a solid 69.9 PFF grade after seven games this year. Injuries have been an issue for the Houston product but the defense is better when Turner is out there.

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Once these four players return, maybe we'll see a more competitive Saints team. I highly doubt it but hey -- We can dream, right?

All grades courtesy of PFF

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