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The latest New Orleans Saints 53-man roster prediction

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After three preseason games, here’s a look at the latest projected roster for the New Orleans Saints.

NFL: Preaseason-Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I gave you my New Orleans Saints 53-man roster prediction after being two preseason games in. With the team dropping another contest on Friday to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the roster might be a little different than it was previously thought. We can likely agree on at least 60 percent (32 players) of the team’s 2016 squad, but what about those other spots?

Here’s my latest thoughts as the regular season is right around the corner, and there wasn’t much changing from last week. One note, the first round of cuts are set for Tuesday.

Offense (25)

Quarterback (3)

  • Drew Brees
  • Luke McCown
  • Garrett Grayson

Thoughts: Unfortunately, Garrett Grayson didn’t help his case for the Saints backup spot. In turn, it appears that the team will have to roll with another three quarterbacks on the roster. Grayson will have one more opportunity to prove himself, but things may already have been decided at that point.

Running Back (5)

  • Mark Ingram
  • Tim Hightower
  • C.J. Spiller
  • Daniel Lasco
  • John Kuhn

Thoughts: No changes from last week’s projection, but I will say that something to keep an eye on is what happens with Michael Hoomanwanui. I don’t want to jump to conclusions that the Saints could keep two fullbacks and put Austin Johnson there, but it’s going to be a wait and see approach.

Wide Receiver (5)

  • Brandin Cooks
  • Willie Snead
  • Michael Thomas
  • Brandon Coleman
  • Tommylee Lewis

Thoughts: Once again, no changes from last week. I don’t see a definitive receiver that’s entered the conversation to take Coleman’s roster spot. I would think R.J. Harris has a legitimate shot, but we’re still a long ways off from things changing.

Tight End (3)

  • Coby Fleener
  • Michael Hoomanawanui
  • Josh Hill

Thoughts: I’ll say that it doesn’t look good for Hoomanwanui, but we’ll really have to see what happens. I do like what I’ve seen out of Chris Manhertz, and if Hooman is out of the mix, then that roster slot goes to him.

Offensive Line (9)

  • Max Unger (C)
  • Terron Armstead (LT)
  • Zach Strief (RT)
  • Tim Lelito (G)
  • Andrus Peat (G)
  • Jack Allen (C/G)
  • Senio Kelemete (G)
  • Landon Turner (G)
  • Tony Hills (T)

Thoughts: This group is a mess, and I could honestly see this drastically changing over the next two weeks. I don’t feel good about Tim Lelito as the team’s starting left guard, and I believe Senio Kelemete should start. That being said, Lelito should keep a spot on the roster. Unforunately, this group went from being promising and strong to underwhelming.

Defense (25)

Defensive End (5)

  • Cameron Jordan
  • Kasim Edebali
  • Bobby Richardson
  • Obum Gwacham
  • Darryl Tapp

Thoughts: I mentioned in winners and losers column that Davis Tull didn’t show us much, and that’s very disappointing. It was enough to move him off the list and give it to the veteran. In my opinion, Tull isn’t meant to be an edge rusher.

Defensive Tackle (4)

  • Sheldon Rankins
  • Nick Fairley
  • Tyeler Davison
  • David Onyemata

Thoughts: Again, no surprises from this group. One thing to monitor is what happens with Sheldon Rankins to start the season, which could yield the way for John Jenkins. However, I still don’t see Jenkins as a long-term guy for the Saints. David Onyemata has put together some good stuff during the preseason, and while he still needs to polish up a few things, I really do like his abilities more.

Linebacker (6)

  • Dannell Ellerbe
  • James Laurinaitis
  • Stephone Anthony
  • Nathan Stupar
  • Craig Robertson
  • Michael Mauti

Thoughts: I made a minor tweak that puts Michael Mauti back on the list. I really liked his aggression and passion from last week’s game. If the question for the final roster comes down to special teams, then I’ll feel better with Mauti being on unit.

Cornerback (5)

  • Delvin Breaux
  • P.J. Williams
  • De’Vante Harris
  • Ken Crawley
  • Brian Dixon

Thoughts: My sacrifice of giving another spot to the linebackers meant I cut someone out of the equation at cornerback, and that puts Damian Swann out. I don’t want to say this was a knee-jerk reaction, but it kind of is. Swann had two horrendous plays on the outside against the Steelers, and that’s very concerning. I will again reiterate that you shouldn’t count out Cortland Finnegan just yet.

Safety (5)

  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • Roman Harper
  • Jairus Byrd
  • Vonn Bell
  • Erik Harris

Thoughts: Dare I say that this is starting to look like a stronger group for the team?

Special Teams (3)

  • Kicker: Connor Barth
  • Punter: Thomas Morstead
  • Long Snapper: Justin Drescher

Thoughts: Tommylee Lewis is still the return specialist for the team, with C.J. Spiller serving as a backup. I know the kicking battle is still fairly even, but I trust Barth more.