By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on May 27, 2014
The New Orleans Saints look to step it up a bit in the rushing attack this upcoming season. It's difficult for anybody to shine in the team's multi-player backfield, but that doesn't mean a solid year is out of the picture. The Black and Gold parted ways with Darren Sproles, but that just opens up the opportunity for some of the younger guys. With that said, let's go ahead and predict the Saints' top-five rushers of 2014.
If the Saints didn't say goodbye to Darren Sproles, Brandin Cooks would likely be in another city. I do believe we'll see the rookie wide receiver get some reps in the backfield just like he did in college, but I'm sure his snaps will be limited. New Orleans has not had a versatile athlete like this since Reggie Bush, so we could definitely see him be used as a dual-threat option.
Cadet looks to be fourth on the depth chart heading into 2014. Khiry Robinson got 54 carries as the team's No. 4 in 2013, but Cadet will likely see less snaps because of his lack of ball handling skills. Don't expect anything more than 2-3 carries per game.
After a strong performance with limited playing time in 2013, Robinson looks to keep up the pace again this season. Since Sproles is no longer in New Orleans, an increase in snaps should be expected for the second-year man out of West Texas A&M. He could be on the verge of a breakout campaign, but it's still tough to put up big numbers in the Saints' multi-player backfield.
Pierre Thomas is fighting for his future in New Orleans after almost being traded this offseason. He will likely be battling it out for a majority of the carries in 2014, but everything looks to be pointing towards Mark Ingram after a strong finish last year. However, Thomas should be the leading receiver out of the backfield once again.
Ingram is not that 1,000-yard back everybody was hoping for, but that's near impossible to do in the Saints' pass-happy offense. He had a great finish to the regular season and the playoffs. If that momentum can carry over into training camp, I expect him to lead the team in carries in 2014. He averaged 4.9 yards on the ground in 2013, which led the Black and Gold.
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