Through the second week of camp and their first preseason game, my predictions for the Saints' final 53-man roster have largely remained the same. A few players have been substituted due to injuries. Be sure to refer back to my previous roster projections to compare the difference:
Drew Brees, Ryan Griffin
Analysis: None of the contenders have a good handle on the back up quarterback position. Griffin and McCown both made bad decisions and made errant throws fairly often against the Chiefs. It's really a toss up as to who will make it as of now. I'm still going to stick with The Rookie, though.
Running Backs (4)
Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Khiry Robinson
Analysis: Mark Ingram saw the bulk of the carries when the starters were in the game against the Chiefs and performed nicely. Pierre Thomas did not play.
Travaris Cadet saw all of the carries in the third quarter. He had some nice runs, but I just don't think he strong enough to consistently pose a threat up the middle or fast enough to bounce outside.
Khiry Robinson took the helm in the fourth quarter and I was impressed. He has a good combination of size and speed and fights for extra yardage on every play. He rarely went down upon first contact.
Analysis: No changes made to this position group.
Wide Receivers (6)
Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Steve Breaston, Nick Toon, Andy Tanner, Kenny Stills
Analysis: When it looked like the Saints were going to start off training camp relatively injury free, Joe Morgan tore his ACL. The Saints brought in Steve Breaston to compete for his spot. He is speedy and has a good set of hands.
Andy Tanner has the heart of a lion. Seeing him fight for extra yardage on a first down catch against the Chiefs solidified his spot on my roster projection for now. The only thing that hurts his case is his mediocre speed.
Preston Parker put on a pretty good showing against the Chiefs, catching two touchdown passes and a 33 yard pass in which he was contested in the air. If he keeps this up through the rest of preseason, he could crack the final roster.
Tight Ends (2)
Jimmy Graham, Ben Watson
Analysis: Ben Watson played very well against the Chiefs, making a handful of great catches. Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham made a couple lazy drops.
Offensive Line (9)
Charles Brown, Terron Armstead, Marcel Jones, Zach Strief, Jason Smith, Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs, Andrew Tiller, Brian de la Puente
Analysis: Jason Smith got moved over to the right tackle position and he is still struggling. There really hasn't been anyone that has stepped up to push him off my list, though.
The line as a whole did a pretty good job protecting the QBs against the Chiefs' pass rush, but their run-blocking was questionable. No changes made to the personnel here.
Defensive Line (7)
Cam Jordan, Jay Richardson, Isaako Aaitui, Tyrunn Walker, Akiem Hicks, John Jenkins, Brodrick Bunkley
Analysis: With Kenyon Coleman going down with a torn pectoral muscle, the Saints are pretty thin now at the defensive end position. The only returning player to the position is Cam Jordan. I have Jay Richardson replacing Coleman for now, but don't be surprised if they bring in some more players for competition.
It also looks like the Saints have moved Tyrunn Walker to defensive end. I have Isaako Aaitui replacing him at nose tackle. Suddenly, this position group isn't very deep either.
Martez Wilson, Eric Martin, Will Smith, Junior Galette, Rufus Johnson, Chris Chamberlain, Jonathan Vilma, Ramon Humber, Curtis Lofton
Analysis: The linebackers were a little shaky both in coverage and run pursuit. I didn't expect much different from them in their first preseason game, though. No changes were made to this group, but keep an eye on Baraka Atkins at the outside linebacker position.
Keenan Lewis, Patrick Robinson, Jabari Greer, Corey White, Chris Carr
Analysis: The corners looked a little sloppy to start the night but gradually got better. No one else seems to be challenging these five for a roster spot.
Roman Harper, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Jenkins, Rafael Bush
Analysis: Some random thoughts on the secondary:
Roman Harper looked a little shaky in coverage against the Chiefs, which isn't really a surprise. Vaccaro didn't play much at safety, but made a great open field tackle in punt return coverage. Rafa Bush saw a good deal of the field both with the first team and backups.
Special Teams (3)
Thomas Morstead (P), Garrett Hartley (PK), Justin Drescher (LS)
Analysis: José Maltos was cut this past week, so it seems like Hartley has a handle on the kicking duties despite a few duck hooks in practice.
What do you guys think the Saints' 2013 53-man roster will look like?