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Saints tight ends could go under-the-radar in 2022

With opposing defenses forced to focus elsewhere on offense, big things could be in store for someone like Adam Trautman.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images

With all of the focus on the trio of New Orleans Saints receivers set to take the field in 2022 - that is, Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and Chris Olave - the rest of the Saints offense has taken a back seat in the spotlight. Sure, the Saints still have Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara on the roster, and the Saints offense typically lives and dies by the success of Kamara and his total scrimmage yards, and yes, the Saints have re-signed Jameis Winston after failing to land Deshaun Watson earlier this offseason, but what about the rest of the offense?

Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead is off to the Miami Dolphins, but the Saints are set to replace the long-time Saint with first round draft pick Trevor Penning. With Penning, Ryan Ramczyk, Erik McCoy, Andrus Peat, and Cesar Ruiz - plus James Hurst waiting in the wings - the Saints should still have an above-average offensive line. So take an above-average offensive line, a former Offensive Player of the Year returning at wide receiver, a former league leader in passing at the helm, plus a pair of new receivers in a first round rookie plus a former receptions leader, what is this offense lacking? Most people would immediately point to depth at the running back position behind Alvin Kamara and the entire tight end group.

But Bleacher Report says otherwise. When Bleacher Report recently listed the “best-kept secret” of every NFL team, what many Saints fans view as a negative, Bleacher Report listed as a positive. For Bleacher Report, they have the “best-kept secret” on the Saints to be tight end Adam Trautman:

Last season, Adam Trautman had a chance to provide a boost to the New Orleans Saints’ underwhelming group of pass-catchers. Yet he only hauled in 27 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns—just a slight production increase from his rookie campaign (15 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown).

With that said, for a decent stretch, Trautman became a reliable pass-catcher with a high target volume. For three consecutive outings—Weeks 9 to 11—he had at least six targets and finished with four or more receptions in each of those contests.

In 2022, Trautman may see a lot of open field with two-time All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas set to rejoin the team (h/t NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport) and Jarvis Landry’s arrival. Perhaps rookie first-round receiver Chris Olave commands some attention in coverage as well.

If quarterback Jameis Winston finds his rhythm and spreads the ball, Trautman could benefit from an improved pass-catching group. Nonetheless, he may have to share looks in the aerial attack with a versatile playmaker in Taysom Hill, who, according to head coach Dennis Allen, will “focus” on a role at tight end.

Maybe with all of the focus on the rest of the pass catchers on the team, including Kamara, Thomas, Landry, Olave, and even Taysom Hill, it will be Adam Trautman who is able to take a monster leap forward in 2022. Trautman struggled at times last season, especially with drops, but maybe that was due in part to a poor supporting case around him. Figure in a complete season with Jameis Winston at quarterback and the fact that opposing defenses will have to now focus on other star power around him, and maybe Trautman could be in store for big things this season.