2013 training camp is officially underway for the New Orleans Saints. Throughout camp and the preseason games I will be updating my projected 53-man roster weekly. Here is the first edition.
Drew Brees, Seneca Wallace
Analysis: The Saints generally don't like to carry more than two QBs on the active roster. After letting Chase Daniel leave for Kansas City this offseason, they brought in Seneca Wallace and Luke McCown, and drafted Ryan Griffin. Wallace has been a serviceable, journeyman quarterback for several teams and is the most experienced out of the three.
Running Backs (4)
Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Khiry Robinson
Analysis: The Saints continue with the "Running Back by Committee" approach. I do think Pierre will be leaned on more than the others, though. I believe Robinson will take over for Travaris Cadet as the "joker" player and Sproles will remain the "utility" player. This is a make it or break it year for Ingram. If he doesn't produce, he won't return in 2014.
Jed Collins, Austin Johnson
Analysis: I don't really like having two fullbacks on the roster, but with the absence of David Thomas, I don't see any of the other tight ends playing the "H-Back" role.
Wide Receivers (6)
Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Joe Morgan, Nick Toon, Courtney Roby, Kenny Stills
Analysis: As of now I don't think much will change to the Saints' receiving corps. In 2012, Joe Morgan emerged as Drew's true "deep threat." Nick Toon will come into the lineup after being sidelined for all of last season. Kenny Stills should be able to make a decent impact as a substitution, but it will be minimal until he gets a firm grasp of the offense. The only player from this group that I could see being let go is Roby, who is saved by his excellent special teams play.
Tight Ends (3)
Jimmy Graham, Ben Watson, Mike Higgins
Analysis: After the addition of Ben Watson and the arrest of Aaron Hernandez, the Saints now have the best tight end one-two punch in the NFL. I have Mike Higgins making the final roster for now. That very well could change, though.
Offensive Line (9)
Charles Brown, Terron Armstead, Marcel Jones, Zach Strief, Jason Smith, Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs, Andrew Tiller, Brian de la Puente
Analysis: This group consists of five tackles (Brown, Armstead, Jones, Strief, and Smith), three guards (Evans, Grubbs, and Tiller), and one center (de la Puente). The Saints had A LOT of trouble at the tackle position last year so they need to be loaded on each side. Both of the guard positions and the center are set in stone as far as starters. Don't be surprised if the Saints bring in some new camp bodies for the back up spots, though.
Defensive Line (7)
Cam Jordan, Kenyon Coleman, Tom Johnson, Tyrunn Walker, Akiem Hicks, John Jenkins, Brodrick Bunkley
Analysis: Four defensive ends (Jordan, Hicks, Coleman, and Johnson) and three nose tackles (Jenkins, Walker, and Bunkley) here. The line is a pretty big question mark as of now because of the switch to the 3-4 alignment. The good thing is, there are several players on this squad that could play both positions. Right now I am satisfied with the starters (Hicks, Jordan, Jenkins), but the substitutes could be better.
Martez Wilson, Ramon Humber, Will Smith, Junior Galette, David Hawthorne, Jonathan Vilma, Chase Thomas, Curtis Lofton
Analysis: This group consists of four outside linebackers (Wilson, Humber, Smith, and Galette) and four inside men (Hawthorne, Vilma, Thomas, and Lofton). The outside is another big question mark for this defense. Will Smith is on the back end of his career and is trying to make a switch from defensive end. Martez Wilson and Junior Galette both are moving from defensive end as well, but their transition should be farely easy. Then there's Ramon Humber (Exactly). I expect rookie Chase Thomas to surprise everyone from the inside this year.
Keenan Lewis, Patrick Robinson, Jabari Greer, Corey White
Analysis: Bringing in Keenan Lewis was probably the best acquisition of the offseason. He joins a pretty pitiful corner back group, but the others can't regress anymore. Right? All joking aside, I expect for Lewis and Greer to be just fine.
Roman Harper, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Jenkins, Jim Leonhard
Analysis: This group could be reshuffled a few times throughout camp. Harper is opening on the PUP list and Jenkins hasn't played up to standards so far. As of now Vaccaro could start for either of the safety positions, so I think everything will fall in to place depending on where he plays. Keep an eye on Rafael Bush, who could sneak back into the lineup.
Special Teams (3)
Thomas Morstead (P), Garrett Hartley (PK), Justin Drescher (LS)
Analysis: Barring any injuries this is how the Saints' special teams crew will look for a long time.
What do you guys think the Saints' 2013 53-man roster will look like?