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Saints position battles to watch now that draft is over

Kristian Garic
April 30, 2019 - 7:00 pm
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The Saints 90 man roster for organized team activities, mini-camp and training camp is just about complete, save for a couple of additions and subtractions here and there.  With the draft complete, here are a couple of position battles to watch before spring and summer:

 

Center/Guard:  Rookie Erik McCoy and veteran free agent acquisition, Nick Easton, will battle for the starting center spot.  Andrus Peat will have competition for his left guard job with Easton fighting for a spot there too.  And, Will Clapp and Cameron Tom are in secondary battles at both guard spots.

Projected winner: Erik McCoy will be the starting center, and Nick Easton will beat out Andrus Peat.  That’s really not a bad thing considering Peat’s ability to play both guard and tackle.  Peat would still have value as the swing tackle, if injuries pile up with Terron Armstead or Ryan Ramczyk.

 

Nickel corner:  Veteran Patrick Robinson signed a big free agent contract last off-season, and missed 14 games due to a broken ankle.  P.J Williams filled in nicely at the nickel spot, and returned to the team in free agency.  The Saints added to that position battle in the fourth round of the draft, selecting safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.  The nickel and dime cornerback/slot cover corner position will be heated.

Projected winner:  Patrick Robinson will win the nickel spot, and P.J Williams will beat out rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the dime defense.  However, Gardner Johnson can be used in other sub packages on defense at safety or the hybrid linebacker position, and may prove invaluable on special teams.

 

Backup quarterback:  I say this tongue and cheek, because Teddy Bridgewater will end up winning this job.  The Saints paid him over $7 million dollars this off-season.  And, the team didn’t bring in a rookie via the draft, so it comes down to Taysom Hill and Bridgewater.  Truthfully, this is not a competition as much as it is an exercise to measure Hill’s progress as a passer.

Projected winner:  Teddy Bridgewater and it isn’t going to be close!  Taysom Hill is one heck of a football player and a crowd favorite, but he’s not ready to be the guy behind Brees.   As we already know, Hill’s extremely valuable as the Swiss army knife on offense.

 

Wide Receiver:  Surprisingly, the Saints didn’t draft a wide-out.  That might be due in part by the addition of tight end Jarred Cook in free agency.  Make no mistake about it, Cook is a pass catching tight end.  He’s a weapon.  WR Lil Jordan Humphrey was added to the roster as an un-drafted free agent.  The team must be comfortable with Cameron Meredith, Kieth Kirkwood and Tre’Quan Smith as their third, fourth and fifth options at wide receiver.

Projected winner:  Your guess is as good as mine!  This boils down to who’s going to be the third wide-receiver behind Mike Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr..  My guess is Tre’Quan Smith will emerge in his second season, but don’t count out Keith Kirkwood.

 

The Saints roster loaded, so very few jobs are up for grabs.  Black & Gold football will be here before we know it!   I’m ready!   Are you?

 

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