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8 New Orleans Saints facing the chopping block of final cuts

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Nearly 1,200 players will be looking for a new job or another team once each NFL squad plays their final preseason game this week, and there’s some Saints players that might want to get started now.

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints suit up for their final preseason contest on Thursday night when they take on the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. For a majority of players, it will be their last big shot to make their case to crack the final 53-man roster. For others, their hope is that they’ve done enough to at least warrant consideration for the team’s 10-man practice squad or have caught the attention of another team across the league.

The Saints have already started their roster trimming duties in anticipation of the league’s drastic drop from 90 to 53 players after the new rule change. After a combination of training camp and preseason work, these are some of the players who may be playing for a job or might find it to be their ‘last ride’ on Thursday.

Erik Harris

A very promising presence added to the team in 2016 after spending time in the CFL, Erik Harris’ season was cut short from a torn ACL in early October. After making his full return, Harris has been outplayed by Chris Banjo for presumably the fifth safety spot. Banjo’s special teams presence has not gone unnoticed, and he’s also made some defensive plays. The Saints have shown a real dedication to making sure their special teams unit is at its top form, and Harris isn’t likely to be in that conversation.

Garrett Grayson

The Garrett Grayson experiment looks to be on its last leg heading into the preseason finale. The Saints aren’t keeping three quarterbacks, and they shouldn’t. That roster spot is better off being used for a special teams role player like a Bryan Braman, another cornerback, or even a fourth tight end like Garrett Griffin. Grayson has had every opportunity to get better, and being surrounded by one of the NFL’s best in Drew Brees and having tremendous help from quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi hasn’t paid off. Grayson could end up back on the team’s practice squad, but he won’t make the final roster.

Travaris Cadet

If being available is a main component of what head coach Sean Payton stresses in his players, then Travaris Cadet is at a huge disadvantage. Getting on the field will be huge for Cadet, but the running back group seems fairly set with Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, Alvin Kamara, and Daniel Lasco. Darius Victor and Trey Edmunds have had their moments, and could very well be practice squad priorities, but it would appear Cadet’s time is up with the Saints.

Corey Fuller

After starting strong in minicamp and training camp, there was a point where Corey Fuller looked like he was ready to take the No. 5 wide receiver spot. However, he’s phased out a good bit, and Tommylee Lewis looks to have that position nearly locked up. Lewis proved last week against the Texans that he’s far from perfect, but he’s at least been in a spot to make some plays. Fuller’s preseason has only seen 3 catches for 20 yards, while Lewis leads the NFC and is second in the NFL this preseason with 14 catches for 165 yards and a score.

Obum Gwacham

The Saints have a very tough choice to make when it comes to the edge rushers. Obum Gwacham, who has made some good plays in preseason, may find himself as the odd man out. Cameron Jordan, Alex Okafor, and Hau’oli Kikaha feel like the biggest locks on the roster out of the group, with Trey Hendrickson, Darryl Tapp, and Al-Quadin Muhammad being the serious contenders for the other spots. Gwacham could be subbed for Tapp, but the bigger thing is that Muhammad has impressed enough to crack this team’s roster over someone like Gwacham.

Damian Swann

Despite getting a much needed interception against the Texans, Swann has had some real struggles in both practice and preseason action. He’s faced a big uphill battle since being selected as the team’s fifth-round draft choice in 2015, dealing with a series of concussions as a rookie and a core muscle injury in 2016. A good showing from Swann may help consideration for a spot, but the depth chart that’s taking form feels like P.J. Williams, Marshon Lattimore, Ken Crawley, Sterling Moore, and presumably De’Vante Harris (Delvin Breaux likely to injured reserve to start the season).

Stephone Anthony

The unsolved mystery continues on the known whereabouts of Stephone Anthony. The former first-round pick was having a fairly decent training camp, but then went missing in action after the team’s first preseason against the Browns. Is he hurt? That’d likely be the best guess at this point, but perhaps a player like Adam Bighill has made enough of a mark to make the final squad over a guy like Anthony. As of now, there’s a real possibility that the Saints keep at least six linebackers entering the season, and Anthony doesn’t feel like one them after not being spotted anywhere.

Landon Turner

Putting Landon Turner on this list might sound ludicrous to some, but here’s the thought and reasoning behind it. The fact that Max Unger is closer to returning is a good sign for the Saints offensive line, who has been pretty horrendous outside of the starters. So, assuming that Unger returns to duty, that would likely leave Josh LeRibeus and Senio Kelemete as the main reserve guards for the Saints offense, especially since both offer versatility at center. Cameron Tom would likely get the main backup spot to Unger from a roster perspective.

That leaves Turner, the former undrafted rookie from 2016, to be expendable in the grand scheme of things. The Saints aren’t likely to do much with Terron Armstead from a PUP or injured reserve perspective, as the early indication is that he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery. Zach Strief and Ryan Ramczyk are presumably the starters in Week 1, with Bryce Harris being the reserve option. Turner just hasn’t made many flashes in his second season, and has had some pretty rough outings, particularly against the Chargers.

Poll

What player from this list, if any, do you feel has the best chance to make the final squad?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Erik Harris
    (117 votes)
  • 2%
    Garrett Grayson
    (58 votes)
  • 6%
    Travaris Cadet
    (130 votes)
  • 5%
    Corey Fuller
    (107 votes)
  • 24%
    Obum Gwacham
    (471 votes)
  • 8%
    Damian Swann
    (160 votes)
  • 35%
    Stephone Anthony
    (683 votes)
  • 11%
    Landon Turner
    (221 votes)
1947 votes total Vote Now