Saints Preseason Primer: 53-man roster/practice squad picks with camp battle thoughts

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports


The Saints have been snakebitten over the last several seasons with the constant injury concerns of Michael Thomas. This season, Thomas appears healthy and joins last year's last year's rookie sensations Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed. Depth will be important given Thomas's tenuous status.

One would have to assume AT Perry will take one spot given draft capital used. In addition, Bryan Edwards likely has a leg up on the competition given his familiarity with Derek Carr from their time together with the Las Vegas Raiders. This could finally push out incumbent WR Tre'quan Smith, who could be a trade candidate for a late round selection to a team who suffers injuries at the wide receiver position during the preseason.

It would also be prudent to keep an eye out for James Washington and undrafted free agent Shaquan Davis, who has earned the nickname "Baby Megatron" due to his size and speed metrics. New Orleans also has recently signed Lynn Bowden and Keke Coutee, two additional wide receivers with the added benefit of special teams capabilities.


The Saints main training camp battle will likely be at left tackle between veteran James Hurst and last year's first round pick Trevor Penning. Expect Penning to at some point early in the season take control of that position and Hurst to return to his valuable multi-positional role.

Depth at interior offensive line took a hit with the recent season-ending injury to ex-LSU Tiger Trai Turner. Expect the last spot to come down to veteran Max Garcia, who can play both center and guard, and Calvin Throckmorton. Keep an eye out for FCS undrafted free agent Mark Evans, who received a team-high 241k signing bonus to join New Orleans after the draft.


Many Saints followers expected the Saints to sign a veteran free agent linebacker given the loss of Kaden Ellis in free agency to the Atlanta Falcons. Instead, the emergence of second-year pro D'Marco Jackson, who missed all of last season with injury, gives the Saints solid depth and a likely successor to middle linebacker extraordinaire Demario Davis. New Orleans uses many of their reserve linebackers for special teams so keep an eye out for Zack Baun, Andrew Dowell, and Ty Summers as possibilities. The Saints brought in two interesting undrafted free agents in Tulane's Nick Anderson and Vanderbilt's Anfernee Orji, so competition at this position will be fierce throughout training camp and preseason.


Two interesting free agents the Saints brought in this offseason who could contribute this year are ex-Raider Jonathan Abram and veteran Lonnie Johnson. The Saints are also very high on second year undrafted free agent Smoke Monday, who missed all of last season with a significant knee injury. As far as cornerbacks, the depth chart is pretty set with the top four above but two names have emerged from the first week of training camp - Issac Yiadom and Troy Pride Jr. Expect the last couple of roster spots at safety and cornerback to be one of the more difficult decisions that New Orleans will have to make prior to the season.

Now let's see who in the bubble fills out the rest of the squad.