NFL New Orleans Saints

2013 NFL Preview: Predicting New Orleans Saints’ 53-Man Roster In 2013

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Predicting New Orleans Saints' 53-Man Roster

Predicting New Orleans 53-Man Roster
Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

2013 will be an interesting year for the New Orleans Saints as head coach Sean Payton will return from his bounty-gate suspension. His leadership was sorely missed, as the Saints finished with a 7-9 record and the worst defense in the NFL, allowing opposing offenses a whopping 440 yards per game. Payton isn’t a defensive coach but his return will bring much-needed leadership and continuity.

The Saints addressed the defensive side of the ball by bringing in Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator. Ryan’s pressure defense with Payton’s prolific offense could be the perfect combination. GM Mickey Loomis will also return for a full season after serving an eight-game suspension last year. Loomis has worked hard to improve the Saints' porous defense, drafting safety Kenny Vaccaro and signing free agents Keenan Lewis and Victor Butler.

The most interesting position on the Saints' roster is running back. Last year, the Saints running back-by-committee system yielded undesirable results as the Saints ranked 29th in rushing yards. The departure of Chris Ivory should leave more carries for Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram. The Saints also have Darren Sproles, who is more of a pass catcher out of the backfield. Sean Payton’s return should help — despite having a reputation for being pass-happy, Payton’s Super Bowl team ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing yards. Without further ado, here is the projected New Orleans Saints' 53-man roster for 2013.

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Quarterbacks (3)

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Drew Brees, Seneca Wallace, Luke McCown

Obviously, the Saints franchise is built around Brees, but it should be an interesting battle between Seneca Wallace and Luke McCown for clipboard holder.

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Wide Recievers (6) And Tight Ends (3)

Wide Recievers And Tight Ends
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receivers

Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Chris Givens, Kenny Stills, Nick Toon, Courtney Roby

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson, Mike Higgins

With Brees under center, New Orleans' wideouts will always be productive. Colston is a solid No. 1, but the Saints need another receiver to step up and become a solid No. 2. Lance Moore is the most likely candidate, but as fantasy football owners can attest, Moore is hit or miss.

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Running Backs (4)

Running Backs
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Running Backs

Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Travaris Cadet

Running back-by-committee will again be the order of the day in New Orleans. The departure of Chris Ivory should open the door for Ingram and Thomas to see more carries. Ingram hasn't lived up to his potential since arriving from Alabama, and Thomas has lost a step.

The Saints will still have Darren Sproles who lines up all over the field, creating matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.

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Offensive Line (9)

Offensive Line
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line

Charles Brown, Zach Strief, Jason Smith, Terron Armstead , Marcel Jones, Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs, Brian de la Puente, Eric Olsen

The Saints' offensive Line lost two key components during the offseason: starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod, and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. The unit will be critical to the success of their future hall of fame quarterback.

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Defensive Line (10)

Defensive Line
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Defensive Line (6)

Will Smith, Cameron Jordan, Akiem Hicks, Broderick Bunkley, Kenyon Coleman, John Jenkins

Rob Ryan's defensive scheme relies on exotic looks to confuse the opposing team's offensive line and quarterback. Despite the window dressing, Ryan's scheme relies heavily on the defensive line to draw double-teams on the edge.

The Saints will be switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme. The pieces won't fit perfectly for Ryan, but honestly, it can't be worse than last year's unit that allowed a league-record 7,042 yards of total offense.

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Linebackers (9)

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Victor Butler, Junior Galette, Jonathan Vilma, Martez Wilson, Chase Thomas

Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, Ramon Humber, Kevin Reddick

Ryan's blitz-heavy scheme benefits linebackers most. Martez Wilson and Junior Galette are both ‘tweener players with the hybrid skills to rush from various positions. That makes them key pieces for the kind of blitz schemes Ryan loves to employ.

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Defensive Backs (10)

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Defensive Backs

CB (5) Keenan Lewis, Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, Corey White, Rod Sweeting

S (5) Kenny Vacarro, Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Rafael Bush

Rob Ryan's scheme creates feast or famine for his secondary. If the blitz gets there, the secondary can shine, but too often his cornerbacks and safeties find themselves one-on-one with opposing receivers. Rookie safety Kenny Vacarro should make an immediate impact

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Special Teams (4)

Special Teams
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Special Teams

Kick Return: Travaris Cadet

Punt Return: Darren Sproles

Kicker: Garett Hartley

Punter: Thomas Morstead