Rashid Shaheed vs. Tre’Quan Smith for WR3
Tre’Quan Smith has been the New Orleans Saints WR3 for the past three seasons, but now that he is coming off arguably his lowest production season of his career and has a challenge from second year receiver Rashid Shaheed he may be fighting for targets more than ever. Both Shaheed and Smith should make the 53-man roster, but training camp and the preseason should give us a good indication as to whether or not the veteran Smith will be able to hang on to his role in the offense. Shaheed is yet another exciting undrafted free agent WR who made huge plays last season, scoring 40+ yard touchdowns on each of his first two touches. He should be the likely candidate to fill the WR spot behind Michael Thomas and Chris Olave but will have to prove he has developed as a receiver this offseason to compliment his outstanding physical skills if he is going to beat out Smith for reps in the offense.
Juwan Johnson vs. Foster Moreau for TE1
The tight end position will be an interesting one this season. Juwan Johnson is coming off a career year of 508 yards and 7 touchdowns and is the incumbent starting TE for the Saints. Foster Moreau is also coming off a career year of 420 yards and 2 TDs and has signed with the Saints after spending his first four seasons with Derek Carr and the Raiders. Moreau had a scary bout with cancer this offseason that initially looked like it would keep him out of football this year, but he has since signed his contract with the Saints and joined the team for OTAs. His familiarity with Carr may give him an edge, but Johnson had the more productive season last year and is already familiar with Pete Carmichael’s offense. The competition may push each player to greater heights, but the Saints have rarely used two TEs in their passing offense, so one of these players is likely to see much more snaps than the other, and it will be interesting to see which one rises to the challenge in camp.
Paulson Adebo vs. Alontae Taylor for CB2
Paulson Adebo had a down year in 2022 after a strong rookie season while second round pick out of Tennessee Alontae Taylor showed flashes throughout the season. Adebo will have to prove 2022 was just a fluke if he is going to stay opposite Marshon Lattimore on the outside. Taylor could also be used in the slot with Adebo on the outside, so it is possible that both could be on the field together for a good amount of defensive snaps this season. Taylor’s versatility and upwards trajectory coming off his rookie season should give him an edge if Adebo does not show signs of returning to the form he was in as a rookie.
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