With the Saints’ first preseason game in the rearview mirror, we now get a chance to delve into some fringe roster players and assess their status during roster cutdowns. I will be looking at 6 players who are right on the edge of making the roster or being cut and explain whether or not they have increased their chances at making the 53-man roster or decreased their odds and will be more likely to be cut.
Trending up for a roster spot:
LB Chase Hansen
Recently added linebacker Chase Hansen had himself a game this weekend after only being signed 8 days prior to the game. Chase was credited with 6 total tackles on the day (5 solo and 1 assisted) as well as his 44-yard interception, 2 tackles for loss, and a pass deflection. He was easily one of the, if not the most impactful player on defense for the Saints during the game, making plays all over the field. He will definitely be pushed onto the 53-man roster this season provided he continues to perform like this.
WR Dai’Jean Dixon
Our other player who is trending upwards would be UDFA wide receiver, Dai’Jean Dixon, out of Nicholls. Dixon had been impressing in camps according to various sources, but Saturday we got our first chance of seeing him in a game scenario. He led the New Orleans Saints in receiving yards with 33 and catching 3 of his 4 targets on the night. He seemed to have some juice in the tank without a doubt, and his 6’3” 201-pound frame definitely helps his chances for a roster spot.
Chances remain unchanged:
S Daniel Sorenson
Daniel Sorenson has long been known for losing track of receivers deep on the field and this is primarily why the Kansas City Chiefs let him walk this offseason. However, Sorenson looked at least somewhat good this past Saturday, racking up 3 tackles on the night and not being destroyed most of the game. He did give up one downfield reception which was primarily due to his lack of vertical range but overall, he had a solid night. Not great, not bad.
RB Abram Smith
This one hurts because I personally had high hopes for Abram Smith, and he showed his talent without a doubt with 7 rushes for 30 yards and a reception for 12 yards. However, his fumble in the red zone inside the 5-yard line that he lost was an absolute detriment to both the team and his chances. While he played well in general, his fumble will likely be what sticks with the coaching staff. He will have to make some big plays in preseason games 2 and 3 to push further for a roster spot.
Trending down for a roster spot
QB Ian Book
Anyone who watched the game knows why Book is on this part of the list. He performed very poorly to put it lightly. The one play that summarized his night was having Juwan Johnson absolutely wide open on a slant route, to which Book completely sailed the ball over the 6’4” WR/TE which led to an interception. Book was slow in his drop backs all night and just did not do exceptionally well despite the 15/22 completions. His chances at the roster definitely dropped due to this game.
CB Vincent Gray
Vincent Gray may not have had an extremely high chance of making the roster in the first place, but after his showing Saturday, it may be even lower. Gray had two important penalties on incomplete passes that gave yards to the Houston Texans, as well as getting beat on multiple occasions throughout the night. His combination of really aggressive hands and lack of speed through the stem of routes is what got him in a poor position in the first game of the year, and he will need some exceptional performances in preseason games 2 and 3 to make up for it.