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New Orleans Saints Preseason Roster Stock Watch 2014

News flash, the New Orleans Saints played a football game on Friday. Here we discuss some of the players on the bubble who are fighting for roster spots at some often crowded positions. Are we seeing a youth movement in The Big Easy? Or will some beleaguered veterans hold their roster spots into the regular season? Read on to find who's on the rise and who may be seeking a new home soon.

Are we witnessing the emergence of a potent rushing attack led by Mark Ingram?
Are we witnessing the emergence of a potent rushing attack led by Mark Ingram?
Michael Thomas

With the first New Orleans Saints preseason game completed, we look at which player's futures are in question. Every season brings with it a crop of new players seeking a roster spot and hold overs looking to either advance from the practice squad or finally make the practice squad. Based on Friday nights game against the St. Louis Rams, let's find out which players improved their stock or saw their stock drop. This isn't a comprehensive list of every rookie or new player on the roster, but a collection of notable players fighting for a spot on the final 53 man roster.

On the rise:

Josh Hill, TE - After a quiet rookie season, Hill showed off his soft hands and decent running after the catch versus the Rams. With 5 players competing for 2 TE spots (really 6 for 3, but we know Jimmy has a job), Hill made strong case for himself.

Terron Armstead, LT - Armstead makes the list because he's a young player on the rise. He was able to continue the momentum that he established at the end of 2013 with impressive blocking on Friday night. Most of the big runs came on his side of the line.

Vinnie Sunseri, S - Sunseri was very active versus the Rams on defense and special teams. He appeared to find his way to the football and was in on a handful of tackles. At another crowded position, Sunseri faces an uphill battle but could find a home on special teams if continues to work.

Mark Ingram, RB - What a difference a scheme makes! After 3 1/2 years of so-so production, Ingram found his groove in the second half of 2013. With the zone blocking scheme fully installed, Ingram is showing that he has what it takes to successfully run behind the offensive line. He seemed to run with controlled fire against St. Louis (think the Dallas game without the mental errors or helmet slapping).

Ryan Griffin, QB - RG4 is competing with Luke McCown for the #2 QB spot behind Drew Brees. While McCown was very ho-hum in his limited opportunities, Griffin was pretty good. He made good reads, showed nice touch, and seemed very poised even when there was pressure coming through. It'll take more than on good game for him to supplant McCown as the #2 QB, but he made a strong case on Friday night.

Rufus Johnson, LB - After a full season on the practice squad, Johnson needs to have a big preseason to stick around in New Orleans. Against the Rams, Johnson made a few nice tackles and didn't look lost on the field like he did last year. I'm not crowning him a starter, but I do believe that he will provide depth at LB.

On the decline:

Joseph Morgan, WR - After a notable performance in 2012, Morgan was set have a breakout 2013. Unfortunately his season was cut short before it even started as he missed all of 2013 with a knee injury. An influx of competition at WR has forced Morgan down the depth chart. Compounding the situation for Morgan has been a very average training camp and limited opportunities in the first preseason game. Fortunately, Morgan has enough good favor and potential to turn it around and earn a spot at one of the most competitive spots on the roster.

Nick Toon, WR - Toon, like Morgan has an uphill journey if he expects to make the final 53. Working in Toon's favor have been reports of standout performance in camp. The bad news is that it didn't exactly translate to in-game success. Toon showed better hands than the last time we all saw him in action but also had a mental error while trying to make a block downfield. It was a mixed bag for Toon, something he cannot afford in a battle for a WR spot with 11 players competing for 5 or 6 slots.

Luke McCown, QB - While much is not expected of McCown, he must still outperform Griffin to earn a roster spot. Griffin has the luxury of being added to the practice squad while McCown does not, so he must secure the #2 QB role to stay with the team. Based on his performance versus the Rams, he is sliding down the depth chart.

David Hawthorne, LB - Hawthorne was brought to N.O. with Steve Spagnuolo and missed all of 2012 with an injury. In 2013, he rebounded and had an okay season but like the other LBs on the team he was a liability in coverage. As evidenced by Friday's game, this has not improved for Hawthorne. The. Saints have been acquiring a lot of young, athletic LBs the last two years and this could spell an end for Hawthorne in N.O. He could be a camp casualty if one of the new guys has a strong preseason.

Pierre Warren, S - The early word from camp was that Warren was separating himself from the other safeties who we're competing for a roster spot as depth. Like Toon on the offensive side, Warren's camp heroics did not translate to game day success. He often looked lost in the game and was late to the play a lot. While one game isn't always indicative of what a player can, at this critical juncture, he cannot afford another sub par performance. Sunseri having a good game did not help Warren either.

Rod Sweeting, CB - Sweeting is in his second year with the team and is competing at a position with 9 other players for limited spots. It is reasonable to expect the Saints the carry 5-6 CBs, but with 3-4 spots relatively locked up, Sweeting must find a way to be successful and secure a spot on the team. Friday's performance versus the Rams dropped his shaky stock and combined with a good game by Trevin Wade, Sweeting's time could be running out.

After only one game, it is still hard to tell how the chips will fall. There will be the usual head scratcher who gets cut and one makes the final 53. Remember the great preseason by Preston Parker last year and bad one by Travaris Cadet? Well. Cadet made the team and Parker did not, so only time will tell how these players will end up.

Tell us who you think is rising, falling, or holding steady after the first game of the year! See you in the comments section!