As the NFL season approaches, football enthusiasts and fans are eagerly waiting for the unfolding drama on the gridiron. One of the most important aspects of any successful team is having strong depth in key positions, as injuries and unexpected challenges can quickly test a team’s mettle. In this article, we will look at the New Orleans Saints’ deepest position groups, unraveling the very fabric of their potential success in the upcoming season.
We have employed a comprehensive approach to evaluate each position group’s depth thoroughly. Our assessment considers multiple crucial criteria, including the starters’ quality and experience, the backups’ talent and potential, and the overall depth chart. Examining these factors can shed light on the Saints’ strengths as they build a roster poised for triumph.
Let’s kick off our journey by exploring the significance of the defensive backs within the Saints’ overall strategy. The secondary plays a vital role in the team’s defensive success, crucially defending against opposing receivers and contributing to turnovers.
In a general 4-3 defensive scheme, Tyrann Mathieu is listed as the starter, and by this point, we can easily confirm that Mathieu is one of the best there is who has the ability to adapt to new or changing schemes quickly. The newest member of the team Jordan Howden is listed as the backup to Mathieu. Howden was picked 146th overall in the 5th round of the 2023 NFL draft. Howden is a dynamic player, and we can see explosive plays coming from him. Moving on, Marcus Maye plays as a free safety. Maye is an experienced player who signed from free agency in 2022. Backing him up will be J.T. Gary, who was an undrafted free agent back in 2018. He has been with the Saints from the start and knows the ins and outs of all the defensive schemes so that he can play a vital role.
On the left side (LCB), Paulson Adebo is listed as the starter. Adebo was picked in the third round of the 2021 draft and has been a regular member of the team for the past two years. Adebo can play in the press as well as in zone coverage. He can quickly change positions according to offensive plays. He is also used in blitz plays often. Marshon Lattimore, heading into his seventh year as a Saint, will be handling the right-side cornerback (RCB). The best thing about Lattimore is that he has great hands is can easily swat or deflect the ball in the year; he is great as man-to-man coverage but average in the zone. He is also great at run support and can be used in special schemes. A name to watch out for outside of Lattimore and Adebo is second-year corner Alontae Taylor. In his rookie season, Taylor showed he is well-equipped to play numerous roles in the Saints secondary. According to numerous Saints analysts, Taylor is expected to see significant time as a slot corner. However, do not be surprised if he becomes the man that lines up opposite Lattimore as the season progresses.
The starters listed above boast remarkable skill sets, with exceptional ball-hawking abilities and shutdown coverage. Going into the depth of the starters, we find an impressive assembly of talented backup players. These individuals exhibit promising potential, ready to step up when called upon. With the right mix of experience and youth, the Saints have managed to bolster this group further.
Moving up the field, we encounter the wide receiver position group, another cornerstone of the Saints’ offensive strategy. These players’ ability to catch, run precise routes, and create separation from defenders are crucial attributes.
The Saints boast an amazing receiving corps, with all the starting wide receivers possessing an exceptional blend of speed, agility, and catching prowess. Their contributions have been pivotal in driving the team’s passing attack and creating explosive plays.
On the left side, the Saints have the talented Michael Thomas, who remains a force to be reckoned with despite yet to match his record-breaking performance of 2019. Thomas showcases incredible speed, leaping ability, and a commanding presence on the field. However, his most exceptional trait is his ability to secure the ball, rarely dropping any catches. Bryan Edwards, recently signed from free agency, is competing for the number 3 position at left wideout, and A.T. Perry, the Saints’ pick at 195th overall in the 2023 draft.
Playing as the right wide receiver, the dynamic Chris Olave had a remarkable rookie season and is poised to be a key player again for the Saints. Olave’s speed and route-running ability allow him to create significant separation from defenders, making him a reliable target on the field. Despite any unfortunate injuries, Olave is expected to see the most offensive snaps among all wide receivers. The rookie A.T. Perry is listed as the number 2 in the depth chart, with the positions potentially rotating as the season progresses.
Moving on to the slot position, the Saints boast two highly talented players. Rashid Shaheed is officially listed as the starter, but we can expect to see Tre’Quan Smith sharing snaps, particularly in short and lateral throws. Despite being Derek Carr’s first year as the quarterback, the receivers’ skill and chemistry allow them to adapt to new plays quickly. With a veteran QB like Carr leading the offense, it is evident that the Saints could have one of the best wide receiver depths in the entire league.
Overall, the Saints’ wide receiver group represents a formidable force, with a combination of seasoned veterans and promising young talents. With their abilities to create separation, secure catches, and make explosive plays, this unit is primed to be a major factor in the team’s offensive success in the upcoming season.
In the backfield, the running back position group takes center stage. The ability to grind out tough yards, break tackles, and contribute as pass-catchers makes this unit a key element in the Saints’ offensive arsenal. Alvin Kamara is currently listed as the RB1, and without a doubt, he is one of the best all-purpose backs in the league. He has everything: size, stamina, ability to fight for extra yards, great in the red zone, and secure hands. Then listed as RB2 is recent acquisition Jamaal Williams who had the best season of his career in 2022 and was one reason for the Lions’ 2022 success. Williams will be an integral part of the Saints backfield.
Then moving on, if these two weren’t enough, we got the newly added draft pick Kendre Miller (71st Pick 2023). Miller had a great career at TCU and was hailed as one of the most physical downhill attacking players in the 2023 draft class. We can clearly see that the starting running backs have consistently showcased their exceptional talent, making them a significant threat in both the running and passing games. Their ability to control the clock and maintain possession is vital to the team’s overall success.
Continuing our exploration, we delve into the tight-end position group, an essential component of the Saints’ offensive scheme. These players are crucial for blocking, catching passes, and acting as key targets in the red zone. As we write this article, we learn that Jimmy Graham is back on the team. Speculation is that Graham will be utilized in red-zone situations, an area where the Saints struggled last season. However, at best, he will be playing a supporting role. Juwan Johnson will be the starting as the premium TE1. An undrafted free agent, Johnson joined the Saints in 2020 and has been with the team ever since; he is a great player, and in 2022, he showed his amazing ability by catching 42 passes for 508 yards and seven impressive TDs.
Additionally, Johnson is great at providing support to the running backs. Backing Johnson is Foster Moreau, who was part of the Raiders for the past five years. He already has great chemistry with Derek Carr. Additionally, Taysom Hill is also listed as TE, and given the circumstances, he can play amazingly well in crucial moments. Overall, Saint’s tight ends are satisfactory and have proven themselves as reliable targets for the quarterback. Their presence on the field adds complexity to the Saints’ offensive strategies.
Among the most critical positions in football, the quarterback leads the charge on the field. For the Saints, the starting quarterback, Derek Carr, brings invaluable experience, leadership, and exceptional decision-making skills to the table. Carr’s arrival adds a seasoned veteran to the offense, and his ability to read defenses and deliver precise passes promises to elevate the team’s passing game. Jamies Winston serves as the backup to Derek Carr, providing depth and support to the quarterback position. Winston’s familiarity with the Saints’ offensive system, gained through his previous seasons with the team, makes him a reliable option in case of any unforeseen circumstances. Third-stringer and rookie QB Jake Haener could become Carr’s backup as early as 2024 if he continues to show progression through training camp and behind the scenes.
While the depth behind the starter may not be as strong as in other positions, the Saints’ coaching staff has been proactive in grooming young talent to step into this vital role when the time is right. With Carr’s guidance and Winston’s experience, the young quarterbacks are being mentored to ensure the future of the quarterback position remains promising for the Saints.
Comparison and Ranking
After a deep and thorough assessment, we present the ranking order of the Saints’ six deepest position groups:
- Defensive Backs
- Wide Receiver
- Running Backs
- Tight Ends
The New Orleans Saints truly have an impressive roster, with strong depth across multiple position groups. From their formidable defensive backs to their explosive wide receivers, the Saints’ strengths lay in their ability to thrive in key positions. As the season unfolds, the impact of these deep position groups will undoubtedly play a crucial role in the team’s pursuit of success. With a roster meticulously constructed, the Saints are poised to march from strength to strength in the battles that lie ahead.
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