The New Orleans Saints have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. As such, an intense level of competition will be present as players try to maintain their place on the roster this season and in the future. We have targeted three players whose 2020 season will be a type of “make-or-break” campaign in determining their future on the squad.
Alvin Kamara, RB
There has been a ton of talk this offseason regarding running back Alvin Kamara’s future. A faction of fans are calling for him to be traded after a lackluster and injury-plagued 2019. Another faction still believe that he should be extended based off of his 2017 and 2018 season performances.
In 2017 Kamara averaged 7.7 yards per touch. In 2018 that dropped to 5.8 yards per touch and in 2019 that dropped even further to 5.3 yards per touch. So, what version of the running back will show up in 2020? If he takes the form of his 2017 or even his 2018 self, New Orleans will be forced to figure out how to keep the prolific running back on the team with a long-term deal. If a healthy Kamara continues to decline, replicates his 2019 production (or worse) the team may move on.
Alvin Kamara earned a 94.0 receiving grade on backfield screens in the 2019 regular season. That ranks 2nd best among ALL RBs.— PFF NO Saints (@PFF_Saints) May 22, 2020
Here were AK's totals on screens:
• 16 catches on 18 targets (88.9%)
• 127 yards (207 YAC)
• 1 TD
• 114.6 passer rating
• 6 forced missed tackles pic.twitter.com/8F9BSkkbdP
Running back is a difficult position to value, and even more difficult to invest in. The 2020 season will be a quintessential “make-or-break” season for Kamara.
Marcus Davenport, DE
Name a more polarizing player than Marcus Davenport in the Saints community, I’ll wait. New Orleans traded up to snag Davenport in the 2018 NFL Draft by giving up their 2019 first-round pick. In both of his two seasons the defensive end has played in 13 games each, and was plagued by injuries in both his rookie and sophomore campaigns. Every year seems to be his “break-out” year, but he truly has yet to hit the elite level that was expected of him when the Saints traded up in the 2018 draft.
None of this is to say he doesn’t have talent. In fact, when he is healthy enough to see action he has been impressive. In his 26 games played, Davenport has totaled 10.5 sacks and forced 4 fumbles. An entire season of the defensive end being healthy would be a real game-changer for New Orleans. However 2020 will be a season in which Davenport will be heavily evaluated for his performance as well as his durability. If he can prove to the Saints that he is who they thought he was when they drafted him, he could become a mainstay on the defensive line. If not, New Orleans could potentially look to move on.
Sheldon Rankins, DT
When Sheldon Rankins is healthy he is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFC South. However Rankins has dealt with severe injuries that have kept him out of some of the most important games the last two seasons. Rankins has suffered three lower leg injuries in just his first four years in the league. His durability concerns have become clear, and the Saints will always need to roster additional depth at the position due to concerns with Rankins.
The defense barely lost a step last year while Rankins recovered from injury, however there is no doubt that the line is better with him on it. The 2020 season will be a big year for Rankins. As with our other candidates for a “make-or-break” year, Rankins will need to stay healthy and prove he can give the team a full year of production. Otherwise this may very well be his last season wearing the Black and Gold.
Do you agree with these players? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @KadeKistner