FanPost

Observations and Projected 2013 roster

I wasn't discouraged by how our 1st defense performed against KC'd 1st offense; Reid is one of the top offense minds in the league, Smith one of the top QBs and Charles one of the top RBs. We have a new DC, new system and several new players. I was actually pleasantly surprised! The limited information we have available to us, as fans, and having only one preseason game to judge by makes the projected roster extremely uncertain. Still, we have a solid core of veterans we can count on as well as a crop of quality UFA's. Every position on our roster is paired with an equal number of veterans and rookies. This is a team built to win now and in the future! If I were SP and given the choice, I'd give several of our veteran starters limited playing time this season and give our promising rookies ample playing time, kind of a "trial by fire." Hell, I'd IR Brees by midseason and let McCown be the #1, like Flynn in Oakland, and Wallace step-in for play option, like Pryor. They're also installing the pistol formation in Denver. If McCown is not signed, he will undoubtedly be signed-on by another team. I'm intrigued by Robinson and I see us going with 5 RBs again before cutting Cadet (unless Robinson is signed to the PS). Cadet has a unique kill set, similar to Sproles, that is vital in SP's offensive scheme. I'm also interested to see how Johnson performs as an eventual replacement for Collins. There is a great competition in the Receiver Corps behind Colston and Moore. With our ST playing so poorly Friday, I can't see Roby Not making the team. Toon is making a great case for the 4th spot leaving the 5th and 6th WR's to be determined. If Morgan is lost for the season and we need a WR to "stretch the field," our fastest players are Hakim (4.2/40) and Fayson (4.36/40)-both of whom are faster than Morgan! Unfortunately, Hakim has very little football experience so I give the upperhand to Fayson. Unless Stills has had a much more impressive showing in camp than we've heard, or proves to be a ST ace, I can't see SP reserving a roster spot for him; he'll probably be red shirted (IR) unless he is much more impressive in the remaining preseason games. I think SP will go with a safer bet at WR in Andy Tanner, who is faster than Parker and will be signed by another team if not signed by us, leaving the 6th WR position (assuming we go with 5 "Non-Roby" receivers) going to Fayson. However, if Robinson is signed as a 5th RB I could see us not signing Fayson and Cadet playing largely as a 6th WR (slot), with Robinson getting more carries. At TE, Higgins was a great receiver in college and has done pretty well for us so far. However, we also have a couple of interesting prospects in Hill and Milton. Hill is very similar in size to Colston and was also a great receiver in college. With Higgins making three receptions Friday, it seems apparent coach is testing his receiving ability but Hill is the more experienced receiver of the two. Milton lacks experience as a receiver but, at 293 lbs, is as big as a OT and makes for an interesting prospect, especially in the newly emphasized "zone blocking scheme" for our running game. Not having to declare "tackle eligible" but sending a tackle-sized blocker to open the running lane undoubtedly has great appeal. While our offensive line is arguably the second most important element of our team, especially at center and guards, uncertainty at our bookend tackle positions is troubling. Furthermore, emphasizing the zone blocking scheme requires athletic and mobil OT's. Brown seems to have secured the starting role at LT, assuming he can avoid injury, and Strief has a tenuous hold at RT. The backup positions along the line, however, are a bit more unsettled. Armstead is clearly the tackle of the future and, if Brown's career stays positive, it seems Strief will be the next to be phased-out. Jones is another tackle who appears to have a peomiing future. Smith's skill set makes him a good blocker in a zone blocking scheme and that alone could potentially secure him a roster spot. However, several other proven and quality backup guards, such as Olsen, and tackles make Smith's chances slim. No doubt SP is still losing sleep over and not just over the left tackle position! Unfortunately, players on the OL are given the least coverage of all positions and we have little opportunity to compare their abilities outside of what little we are told. So unless some of the new rookies have a great camp and preseason, I see no reason to expect a change from last season. We have a veteran defensive line, anchored by Bunkley, that could potentially be the strength of our defense this season. With Jenkins able to tie up multiple blockers, and several DE's able to play NT I don't see a spot for Aaitui. I gave little chance to Coleman making the final roster and, with his apparent season-ending injury, there is more competition for the remaining spots at NT and DE. While I see Tom Johnson as benefitting most from Coleman's absece, Hicks and Jordan have the starting DE positions locked down. In addition to those three DE's, Richardson and Walker appear to have the inside track to make the final roster. Barring injury, the tandem of Lewis and Greer have the primary two CB slots filled. In addition, the exerienced Carr seems certain as well as White, who seems to have earned a loose hold on a fourth roster spot. While Sweeting has earned praise on a number of plays, I doubt he will initially get the nod over Robinson. However, if he does not show marked improvement over the past couple of season, I see Sweeting as being a likely replacement. The free and strong safety positions are alsoo faced with strong competition for backup roles. In fact, Vaccaro is the only safety I feel 100% certain will make the final roster! But, despite Jenkins questionable play at times, I feel fairly certain he will start at free safety. I also feel certain Harper will start at strong safety, playing a hybrid SS/OLB role, with Leonhard backing him in more a traditional SS role. The final safety position will likely go to Quddus who, with his combination of size and speed, rounds-out the DB's. Our LB Corps are a great mix of youth and veteran players, power and speed, with some of the best competition in all of camp. I expect nine LB slots to all be filled by veterans but, with new DC Ryan putting different personnel packages together for different objectives, it is difficult to say exactly which spots they will fill. Smith and Galette appear to hold the weakside, LOLB, position while Wilson and Atkins hold the strongside, ROLB. Vilma and Hawthorne hold the LILB position while Loftinn and Humber hold the RILB. I had initially projected Chamberlain would beat-out Herring for a roster spot but Herring's versatility may well win him the place. Last, but not least, with Butler appearing to have been lost for the season, Martin's excptional camp may have also won him a place. Leaving the final three spots on the 2013 Saints roster going to Drescher, Morestead and Hartley. So there you have it, my observations and projections for the upcoming 2013 New Orleans Saints final roster. To recap: QB: Brees, Wallace WR: Colston, Moore, Toon, Tanner, Roby, Fayson RB: Thomas, Sproles, Ingram, Cadet FB: Collins LT: Brown, Armstead LG: Grubbs C: De la Puenta RG: Evans, Olsen RT: Strief, Jones TE: Graham, Watson, Milton FS: Jenkins, Vaccaro CB: Lewis, Greer, Carr, Robinson, White LOLB: Smith, Galette LILB: Vilma, Hawthorne RILB: Loftin, Humber, Chamberlain ROLB: Wilson, Atkins RDE: Hicks, Richardson NT: Bunkley, Jenkins LDE: Jordan, Johnson, Walker SS: Harper, Leonhard, Quddus LS: Drescher P/K/H: Morestead FG/EP: Hartley Practice Squad: Harris, Sweeting, Foster, Johnson, Reddick, Shipmn, Thomas, Martin Players such as Griffin, Tiller, Harris, Higgins, Robinson, Hakim, Breaston, Bush and Davis will be frequently signed-on to the PS, especially as LB are tested-out in Ryan's new schemes. My projections are made under the assumptions that Morgan, Butler and Coleman are lost to IR.

This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.

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