Saints quarterback Jameis Winston would be the obvious choice as the number one player that could have a breakout season with the team in 2021. He plays the most important position on the team, the quarterback, and is taking over for a future Hall of Famer in Drew Brees.
All signs point to him having a huge season under the guidance of Sean Payton. However, the starting job is not guaranteed and is still being decided with training camp going on.
Let’s look at four players who could have a breakout season for the Saints in 2021. Due to the current circumstances on the roster, a highly productive year from these four individuals could mean the difference between the Saints qualifying for the playoffs in 2021.
1. Tre’Quan Smith: WR
It does not happen all of the time, but many players tend to take their performance to another level when going into a contract season. It’s the type of behavior you tend to see in all four major pro sports.
As for Smith, he will be needed significantly in the Saints passing game this season. The receiver that lines up opposite of him, Michael Thomas, will be out for at least the first month of the season to recover from ankle surgery in June.
The Saints selected Smith because of his ability to stretch the field and become a complementary wide receiver to Thomas. He will have to become just a second option in the Saints’ passing offense in a contract season. His new deal could very well depend on it.
2. Marquez Callaway: WR
When Thomas was sidelined with an ankle injury last season, wide receiver Marquez Calloway became one of the Saints’ offense’s rising stars. He plays the same role in 2021, with Thomas being out for an extended time.
Calloway can also become a game-changer in the kick/punt return area as well. He is the type of receiver that can be called upon to keep the chains moving in various passing situations. No matter who the starting quarterback will be, Calloway’s presence in the lineup will benefit both signal-callers.
3. Carl Granderson: DE
Defensive end Carl Granderson has demonstrated that he can become a vital part of the Saints’ defense. His role has mainly been a rotational player along the defensive line. He can take his productivity to an all-time high if he can be an every-down player on the Saints’ d-line. At the moment, it is an open competition to see who can become fill the void left behind by Tre Hendrickson. If Granderson becomes the player that fills that void, it will cover up one hole that the Saints will not have to worry about as the 2021 campaign progresses.
4. Adam Trautman: TE
Except for Coby Fleener, tight ends have strived in Coach Payton’s offense. No matter how upset folks are at Jared Cook, he was a productive tight end during his time in New Orleans. Trautman has the size and ability to be a red-zone threat to opposing defenses. His presence is going to be greatly needed during the Saints year of transition. If a rapport can be established between Trautman and the starting quarterback this year, New Orleans will have another weapon to count on in the passing game.
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