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Ridiculously Early 2011 Saints Roster Breakdown: Running Backs

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Even though there hasn't yet been a free agency period and NFL rosters may still get shuffled before training camp and the 2011 season begin*, there's very little for us left to discuss so we may as well begin analyzing the Saints roster.

We're starting off today with the running backs and holy crap are there a lot of them on this team. I knew there was a bit of a logjam at the position but I didn't realize there were nine ball carriers on the roster. Nine! With this much depth and talent in the backfield, you could even speculate that the Saints are poised to have the most feared rushing attack of the 2011 season, assuming they're used properly and stay healthy.

Make the jump to see exactly who's on the roster at the position and my opinion on where they stand as far as their chances of making the team this year.

*Season may not actually happen.

Definite

Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram

After many of us, including myself, thought Pierre Thomas would never play another down in a Saints uniform, the team re-signed him to a 4-year deal. I'd say that shows the team likes him just as much as the fans. I fully expect him to play a significant role in the 2011 Saints offense. If Mark Ingram is even half as good as we've been led to believe, there's not a chance he doesn't make the team.

Likely

Reggie Bush, Chris Ivory

The only reason Reggie Bush is listed as likely is because there are rumors that he wants out of New Orleans as opposed to a re-structured contract. Otherwise, we know Payton isn't going to cut him. Chris Ivory proved himself last season when given the opportunity. If the Saints keep four running backs on the roster, I think it's Ivory's spot to lose.

On the Bubble

Lynell Hamilton

Hamilton was poised during training camp to have a breakout year and become the teams No. 3 running back behind Thomas and Bush before tearing his ACL in early August. Now his road to playing time is significantly tougher. His only shot at making the team is to outshine Ivory and take that fourth RB spot or hope Reggie Bush leaves town.

Longshot

Ladell Betts, Julius Jones, DeShawn Wynn, Joique Bell, Chris Taylor

Betts, Jones and Wynn were all added to the roster last season when injuries decimated the Saints crop of starting running backs. Now that the reset button has been pressed and those RB's are getting healthy again, these guys have little to no chance at seeing the field during the regular season. But who the hell is Chris Taylor?