With the NFL draft now finished, and the New Orleans Saints making the aggressive move to land former LSU star and New Orleans native Tyrann Mathieu the 2022-2023 Saints roster is starting to take shape. While the Saints have addressed some needs and filled several holes on the roster some questions do remain. Let’s attempt to predict the 53-man roster for the 2022 NFL season.
Quarterbacks: Jamies Winston, Andy Dalton, Ian Book (3)
This be the one position that shouldn’t see much change from now until week 1. Winston is coming back off the torn ACL and with the Saints not drafting any quarterbacks in the draft it shows a sign that for this season, the Saints believe that Jamies Winston is the guy. Dalton coming over from Chicago will be inserted into the backup position and provide excellent leadership and veteran experience to the quarterback room. The club is still high on Ian Book, who did not get a fair shot in his one start last season and should stick around as the team’s third quarterback.
Running Backs: Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Dwayne Washington, Abram Smith, Adam Prentice (5)
Running back might be one of those positions where it could be fine one minute and a major need/question the next. While we wait for the latest on Kamara’s legal situation which will have major implications on how this offense flows, that would leave Mark Ingram as the only veteran on the roster that could potentially fill that void. The Saints could target a free agent like Darrel Williams or Tarik Cohen, which would take away a spot from Washington or Smith. Smith vs Jones could be a sneaky fun camp battle to watch as the Saints have excelled at finding value in the late rounds and undrafted at the running back position.
Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harty, Tre’Quan Smith (5)
The Saints will have not one, but two first round receivers from THE Ohio State University. Getting Michael Thomas back for the 2022 season will be huge for this offense. Add in fellow buckeye Chris Olave and he should give the Saints the best 1-2 punch at receiver they’ve had in a long time. Marquez Callaway showed much promise and lead the team in receiving yards in 2021. Harty was arguably the team’s best receiver last season and now could play a bigger role in the offense. Tre’Quan Smith is going to be the odd man out in this group, despite being re-signed to a 2-year deal earlier this offseason. If the Saints are able to land Landry, it would almost immediately make Tre’Quan the odd man out in the group.
"I almost look at it as getting Mike back, it's almost like we had two first round draft choices at wide receiver." #Saints coach Dennis Allen on the @RichEisenShow about Michael Thomas and Chris Olave— Rod Walker (@RodWalkerNola) May 6, 2022
Tight Ends: Adam Trautman, Juwan Johnson, Nick Vannett, Taysom Hill (4)
It’s pretty fair to say we all might have had some high expectations for Adam Trautman as he entered his first season as the starting tight end. He did show some flashes last season and looked more comfortable as the season progressed. Johnson will be a fun player to watch during training camp as he continues his transition from receiver to tight end. Taysom Hill is officially moving to tight end full time and could provide a spark to the position.
Offensive Line: Trevor Penning, Andrus Peat, Eric McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, Ryan Ramczyk, James Hurst, Calvin Throckmorton, Landon Young (8)
With the selection of Trevor Penning, it will officially open up the battle between Penning and Hurst to replace Terron Armstead. Throckmorton proved he can play pretty much across the line and filled in when Andrus Peat when down earlier this season. One more name to keep an eye out on is Forrest Lamp, the former Chargers second round draft pick latched on with the team last season and was brought back during the offseason.
Defensive Line: Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport, David Onyemata, Shy Tuttle, Payton Turner, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Carl Granderson, Kentavius Street, Jordan Jackson, Malcom Roach (10)
The defensive line looks to be very shaped and well-rounded. They have tons of depth at across the line. They still could use a veteran defensive tackle like Akiem Hicks. With so much depth at the end spots, you could see a lot of Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport lining up inside to help make up the lack of big bodies in the interior.
Linebacker: Demario Davis, Pete Werner, Kaden Ellis, D’Marco Jackson, Zack Baun, Andrew Dowell (6)
There still is the option of the Saints bringing back Kwon Alexander, if that were the case, I think we’d all be okay if the Zack Baun experiment ended. We knew it was a project and sometimes, it just doesn’t work out like we’d hope. Ellis is one of the better run stuffers in his linebacker room and there certainly was a lot of like about the team’s 5th round selection in D’Marco Jackson.
Cornerback: Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo, Bradley Roby, P.J. Williams, C.J. Gardner- Johnson, Alonte Taylor (6)
Cornerback might just be the most stacked position the Saints have entering the 2022 season. Bradley Roby and P.J. Williams should be starting on someone's roster, and instead they are the team’s 3rd and 4th string corners. The team’s selection of Alonte Taylor is interesting considering we really just don’t know the role he’ll play in this defense, but hey in today’s NFL you can never have too many good corners. The quick and overall surprise development of Paulson Adebo during his rookie season makes me that much more confident in the Adebo and Lattimore duo heading into this season.
Safety: Tyrann Mathieu, Marcus Maye, J.T. Gray (3)
It’s just crazy how this team lost both Marcus Williams and Malcom Jenkins, yet the team somehow got better at the position. Maye will likely face a suspension for his DUI case last year, but the Saints will have flexibility with P.J. Williams and possibly Alonte Taylor who Dennis Allen said he viewed as a safety.
Special Teams: Wil Lutz, Blake Gillikin, Zach Wood (3)
This group won’t change from last year's roster predictions, however missing Wil Lutz last year was certainly noticeable and should be a pleasant surprise. Gillikin had one hell of a season and both along with Zach Wood should be locked in their positions.
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