The New Orleans Saints' tight end competition appears to have a clear winner: the formerly undrafted Juwan Johnson. How did Johnson wrestle the TE1 job away from Adam Trautman?
Neither Johnson nor Trautman had spectacular performances through the first two games of the 2022 season, yet it seems as though NOLA trusts Johnson more.
So far in 2022, Johnson has played 76 percent of offensive snaps while Trautman has played 45 percent of offensive snaps.
The more revealing stat, however, is targets. Trautman was not targeted a single time in Week 1 and Week 2; Johnson was targeted 12 times.
In NOLA's recent loss to the Bucs, Johnson actually finished third on the team in targets, hauling in four of seven targets for 40 yards.
Juwan Johnson has all but taken over TE1 duties for the Saints in 2022
Johnson, a former Penn State and Oregon wideout, was signed by New Orleans following the 2020 draft and transitioned into the tight end position by his second year.
Trautman has been playing tight end for longer, but he's also squandered more of his opportunities. He failed to impress for the last two years even after former Saints tight end Jared Cook left the team, and for at least the start of this season, he sits solidly behind Johnson in offensive usage.
Johnson showed his big-play ability last season with four touchdowns in 14 games, and the Saints are hoping he can recreate some of that end zone production this year as the offensive unit continues to gel.
Amid a crowded receiver room of Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and Chris Olave, Johnson has been holding his own as he continues to grow into a promising starting-caliber tight end. Through two games, Johnson has made some nice plays as a run blocker and poses as a monstrous target with above average contested catch abilities.
Expect Johnson, not Trautman, to emerge as NOLA's top tight end threat this year.