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A look back at Saints “can’t miss” preseason award predictions

How did I do?

Wild Card Round - Chicago Bears v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

For the fourth year in a row, I made “can’t miss” predictions leading into the 2020 regular season, including breakout rookie, most improved player, and team MVP. Let’s take a look at how I did:

MVP

My prediction? Alvin Kamara:

It’s easy to say 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas, or even Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, here, but I’m going to go with Alvin Kamara. After dealing with nagging injuries all of 2019, he’s healthy and ready to go in 2020. Just look at these insane workout and training videos of Kamara this offseason.

It was clear Kamara struggled with his explosiveness and elusiveness last year. But after finishing with the 3rd-most broken tackles in 2019, that number could - and should - grow in 2020.

Verdict? Great call.

Do-over? Still Kamara.

Most Improved Player

My prediction? Andrus Peat. Oof.

Kamara would make sense here too, but in the interest of not repeating myself let’s go with someone new.

Like Kamara, Saints offensive lineman Andrus Peat struggled with injury in 2019. The Saints front office clearly felt confident enough in what Peat could do when healthy, as they paid him $57.5 million dollars this offseason, with $33 million guaranteed over the course of five years. Healthy and ready to go, I’m looking for Peat to show that speed and strength that convinced the Saints to spend a first round draft pick on him in 2015.

Verdict? A Marcus Williams-level missed tackle.

Do over? Trey Hendrickson.

Hoss of the Year

My prediction? Cam Jordan:

It’s not a bold prediction by any means, but I expect Cam Jordan to lead the team in sacks and tackles for loss again in 2020. With consistent help on the other side from 2018 1st Rounder Marcus Davenport, I’m not quite sure I expect Cam to replicate his success from the days when he partnered with Junior Galette, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see a monster year from Cam.

Verdict? Another whiff because of the outstanding play of one of Cam’s teammates.

Do over? Trey Hendrickson.

Most Disrespectful Blocker of the Year

My pick? Ryan Ramczyk:

It’s easy to say Terron Armstead, and that’s where my heart was initially tugging, but the man just can’t seem to say healthy. Instead, let’s go with young gun and 2019 All-Pro, Ryan Ramczyk, who’s shown to be a beast in his own right.

Verdict? I should have gone with my gut.

Do over? Terron Armstead.

Rookie Who Will Make the Biggest Impact

My pick? Cesar Ruiz. Eh....

It’s not a splashy or sexy pick by any means, but I fully expect 2020 1st Round Pick Cesar Ruiz to be the full-time starting center by at least Week 3, if not Week 1. No one really notices an offensive lineman, especially a center, if they’re doing their jobs correctly, so here’s to hoping he’s not showing up too often on the highlight real for opposing teams.

Verdict? The entire rookie class was uninspiring.

Do over? Adam Trautman, if only by default. Maybe Marquez Callaway.

First NFC South Coach to be Fired

My pick? Dan Quinn, of course:

I doubt rookie coach Matt Rhule goes anywhere soon for the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn, on the other hand, is going to be under constant scrutiny again in 2020. If the Falcons struggle this season, and especially if they struggle on offense, I could see Quinn getting an early boot.

Verdict? Slam dunk.

Do over? Nope, this one was objectively correct.

Dak Prescott Rookie Who Came Out of Nowhere Award

My pick? Third round pick Adam Trautman:

Let’s go with tight end Adam Trautman, who the Saints selected in the 3rd Round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Dayton.

The Saints don’t have many options at tight end other than Jared Cook (33 years old) and Josh Hill (30 years old). With Trautman, the Saints can inject a bit of youth into the tight end room, and if Cook or Hill miss time in 2020, expect Trautman to see time early and often on the offense.

Verdict? Solid, but reasonable minds could differ here.

Do over? This is probably the slot for Marquez Callaway.

NFC South Team That Won’t Meet Expectations

My pick? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers : (

This one is too easy. It’s got to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It’s not because I think the Buccaneers are the worst team in the division - to the contrary, I think they’re one of the most talented teams on paper in the NFC. The issue is just that, with the addition of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, the Buccaneers are expected to make a long and deep postseason run in 2020. Anything short of making the playoffs this year would be a disappointment for Brady and the Bucs, but the NFC South and the NFC as a whole are so deep I could see Tampa Bay failing to make the cut.

Verdict? I don’t want to talk about it.

Do over? Probably the Atlanta Falcons.

Most Overrated Player

My pick? Tre’Quan Smith:

This one is tough.

I’ve toyed with the idea of naming several different players here, but couldn’t really come up with one I felt comfortable with.

Let’s go with WR Tre’Quan Smith.

There are a lot of Saints fans already penciling in Tre’Quan as the Saints #3 wide receiver opposite Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and it very well could happen, but it’s also possible despite spending a third round pick on him in 2018, Tre’Quan is just a bench piece in 2020 behind players like Deonte Harris, Ty Montgomery, Bennie Fowler, and others.

Verdict? This one is tough.

Do over? As much as it pains me to say, maybe Cam Jordan.

Most Valued Punter

My pick? Thomas Morstead, duh.

Verdict? Fine, if only by default, but likely the last year this answer works.


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