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New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots: Players to Watch

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The Saints first preseason game is almost here! While we’re just glad to get back to football, here’s some players to keep an eye on during Thursday night’s contest.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Minicamp Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The first preseason game is almost here, and there are many players to keep an eye on.

Obviously, the New Orleans Saints five picks from the NFL Draft are ones to keep an eye on. Sheldon Rankins, Michael Thomas, Vonn Bell, David Onyemata, and Daniel Lasco have all had pretty solid camps so far and it will be exciting to finally see them in their Saints jerseys. However, I’m going to discuss five players that I’m excited to watch and see how much they have grown since last year or how they’re fitting in with the team so far. Some of these players have a sure spot on the team and some have to have a good preseason and camp in order to make the final 53-man roster.

Tyeler Davison

The first guy that should be exciting to watch is Tyeler Davison. This fifth-round pick in 2015’s NFL Draft has been doing very well at camp so far. If Davison can keep it up throughout camp and the preseason I believe he will be starting for the Saints when the first game of the season is here. This guy is very powerful at the point of attack and showed flashes of that last year. Davison could be a huge part of turning this defense around. Being able to cause pressure from up the middle and move the quarterback off his spot can really affect games. Also, expect Davison to be a force against the run. Having him with additions of Rankins and Nick Fairley could make the inside of the Saints defensive line pretty stout.

Ken Crawley

One player that wasn’t on anybody’s radar to make the 53-man roster, but has a caught some people’s eyes lately, is cornerback Ken Crawley. The undrafted rookie has been making plays at camp. Not only will Crawley need to show out at the cornerback position, but he also needs to excel at special teams. He’s stands at 6-foot-1, and is an athletic player with great ball skills. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine and used his long arms in college to break up 21 passes while he was in college. Hopefully he brings that athleticism and ball skills to the game on Thursday. It seems like the first four spots at the cornerback spot are set, but there is still a spot for the fifth and possibly sixth. Crawley definitely has a chance at those spots.

Craig Robertson

Next is probably a guy most Saints fans had never heard of, but after this preseason I’d expect them to know him very well. That player would be linebacker Craig Robertson. He played four seasons with the Cleveland Browns, and was a solid player for them. He really grew into a pretty good coverage linebacker over those four years. He’s a smart player with good instincts and should help bring much needed depth to the linebacker position. Seeing how well he plays in Dennis Allen’s defense and how he communicates with other players will be something I will be watching for. Last year, it seemed like the Saints defense didn’t communicate like they should, and with the additions of James Laurinaitis and Robertson they shouldn’t have that problem this year.

Erik Harris

Another new player that has been doing well in camp is safety Erik Harris. The former Canadian Football League player has shown that he can practice well in the NFL, but can he perform the same way in an NFL game? I think the answer is yes, but we will know for sure Thursday night. Harris was primarily a linebacker when he played in the CFL, but he will be playing safety for the Saints. He is a very versatile player and should be one of the Saints best special teams players simply because of his size, speed, and tackling ability. Looking forward to seeing him on defense and special teams against the New England Patriots.

Tommylee Lewis

Another guy who has gained some momentum over the past week is wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. The quick receiver from Northern Illinois University has a tough road ahead of him in order to make the final 53-man roster. However, he could definitely fight his way onto the team if he can take advantage of the chances that he will be given in the preseason. Whether that’s on special teams or at the receiver spot, he has to make them count. The first four receiver spots are pretty set, but the Saints will probably keep five this season, and he has a shot at that final spot. What Lewis lacks in height he makes up for with his speed and agility. Bill Parcells recommended Lewis to Sean Payton and that recommendation could be huge for the Saints when the season starts.

There are many other players to be excited about like De’Vante Harris, Andrus Peat, and Obum Gwacham, but these five will be a few I will be paying close attention to. I’m not sure how many snaps starters will be getting in the first preseason game of the year, but the good news is New Orleans Saints football is back!!!!!