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New Orleans Saints 2016 Year in Review: Senio Kelemete

Kelemete’s flexibility and availability is appreciated, but is his the stability of the future?

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In March of 2016, the New Orleans Saints signed Senio Kelemete to a two-year, $2.7 million deal. The University of Washington product spent time on the practice squad before earning a spot on the main roster, primarily serving as a generic backup lineman, but starting along the O-line in five games in 2015 and nine in 2016.

The Saints have had a difficult time securing a reliable left guard to bolster the offensive front and compliment Jahri Evans. Andrus Peat began the 2016 season at the position, but was soon needed elsewhere when Terron Armstead suffered a knee injury and could not suit up.

Enter the Kelemete-Lelito Carousel. Kelemete and Tim Lelito tussled for the right to call themselves starting left guard for the Saints, but ultimately, the season saw a constant rotation of the two. Kelemete provided the push needed to support the rush offense (often times at different slots along the line as the situation arose), while Lelito excelled in pass protection. Despite winning the overall battle of snaps over Lelito, Kelemete did not execute in a manner that would ensure a lengthy stay at the top of the depth chart. To accomplish that feat, he must get the job done on passing downs, an issue that has haunted him since his collegiate career.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kelemete-Lelito Carousel will (hopefully) be remembered as a season-long band-aid. This band-aid needs to be ripped off quickly next season to avoid any unnecessary pain. The availability of the duo was certainly appreciated, and their performance was serviceable.

However, the 2016 season was supposed to be the year that Andrus Peat, with another year of experience under his belt, continued his development into a reliable left guard and be the staple of the New Orleans offensive line. Instead, he had to be relocated to a position where there is no future for him. Saints fans should hope for a healthy 2017, which will allow what is a decent offensive line to take strides toward becoming great.