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The final New Orleans Saints 53-man roster prediction

The preseason is over. So, what could the New Orleans Saints final roster look like?

NFL: Preseason-Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, I presented to you my latest New Orleans Saints 53-man roster prediction. While it was a shorter week to work off of, some things have changed as the team wrapped up their preseason on Thursday night and now focuses on making their final team for the 2016 season.

Here’s my final thoughts for the black and gold, as all NFL teams must trim their rosters before the final cut deadline of Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Offense (25)

Quarterback (3)

  • Drew Brees
  • Luke McCown
  • Garrett Grayson

Thoughts: Luke McCown has struggled, and I might give a slight edge to Grayson here, but with too many questions and differing opinions on who should back up Drew Brees, they all get in.

Running Back (5)

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

Thoughts: Although we saw a late push from Marcus Murphy, it’s tough to say that one game makes up for his uncertainty in the starting lineup. Daniel Lasco is a tough runner, and he offers more upside over Murphy.

Wide Receiver (5)

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

Thoughts: Brandon Coleman helped his case after two nice receptions against the Ravens. Jordan Williams-Lambert certainly got more looks, but he’ll likely default to the practice squad. Tommylee Lewis will get in as the team’s returner.

Tight End (4)

  • Coby Fleener
  • Michael Hoomanawanui
  • Josh Hill
  • Chris Manhertz

Thoughts: Unless we get the extent of Michael Hoomanwanui’s injury, you have to believe Chris Manhertz will get onto the team’s final roster. Manhertz has done a lot of growing up, and he offers the team options.

Offensive Line (8)

  • Max Unger (C)
  • Terron Armstead (LT)
  • Zach Strief (RT)
  • Tim Lelito (G)
  • Andrus Peat (G)
  • Senio Kelemete (G)
  • Landon Turner (G)
  • Khalif Barnes (T)

Thoughts: I still don’t believe we have our answers for this offensive line, and while I project this is the group the team rolls with (Kelemete can serve as Unger’s backup), I realistically can see Lelito getting cut and a better upgrade for Barnes. This will be what you want to watch out for.

Defense (25)

Defensive End (5)

  • Cameron Jordan
  • Kasim Edebali
  • Paul Kruger
  • Obum Gwacham
  • Chris McCain

Thoughts: With the Saints signing Paul Kruger, it instantly bumped Bobby Richardson out the mix. I like the progress Obum Gwacham is making, and with the team trading for Chris McCain, he offers a bit more in special teams over Darryl Tapp.

Defensive Tackle (4)

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

Thoughts: Nothing has changed on this interior group, and dare I say that this is one of the positions I feel most comfortable with? Onyemata has grown tremendously, and he makes John Jenkins expendable.

Linebacker (6)

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

Thoughts: This might be the first year in quite some time that you can say you feel good about what the Saints have at linebacker, especially with depth. This is a group that I feel is highly underrated, and James Laurinaitis will be instrumental in getting this defense back to a respectable unit.

Cornerback (5)

  • Delvin Breaux
  • P.J. Williams
  • De’Vante Harris
  • Cortland Finnegan
  • Brian Dixon

Thoughts: As I alluded to in my earlier winners and losers column, Ken Crawley likely played himself out of a roster spot. If it comes down to a matter of trust in the secondary, then you have to go with veteran Cortland Finnegan.

Safety (5)

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

Thoughts: It’s probably the easiest position group to pick for the Saints other than quarterback.

Special Teams (3)

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

Thoughts: Tommylee Lewis is your returner, and I believe Connor Barth gives you better opportunities in kickoff coverage. Sean Payton goes with the one he can trust the most, and if you want the proven guy, then you go with Barth.