Predicting New Orleans Saints’ Week 1 Depth Chart
New Orleans Saints: Predicting Week 1 Depth Chart
Now that the final roster cuts have been made, it's more clear as to who will take the field first against the Atlanta Falcons come Sunday. As of now, these figure to be the Saints' starters come Week 1.
What more can be said about Brees, who, since joining the Saints, has established himself as one of the best leaders in sports. He’ll lead this New Orleans team into the 2014 season with high expectations.
Mark Ingram (RB), Erik Lorig (FB)
There's been talk about second-year running back Khiry Robinson taking over this backfield. Ingram put all those rumors to rest after coming up huge in the preseason. Regardless of who is listed as the starter, the trifecta of Ingram, Robinson and Pierre Thomas should all figure to have key roles in the offense. Erik Lorig is the ideal fullback for Saints as a blocker who can catch.
Marques Colston, Kenny Stills
While Colston is no longer Brees’ favorite target, he is still the clear starter at wide receiver. After a rookie season in which Kenny Stills led the NFL in yards-per-catch, the expectations are sky-high. With another year of familiarity between Stills and Brees, the two should connect more often, leading to a breakout year for the speedster.
Graham would be a surefire starter at tight end for the All-NFL team so the Saints are ecstatic that they were able to lock him up for the next four years. The 6-foot-7 target is possibly the largest matchup nightmare in the league and will be looked to early and often.
Terron Armstead (LT), Ben Grubbs (LG), Jonathan Goodwin (C), Jahri Evans (RG), Zach Strief (RT)
A unit that was once considered to be among the league’s best is now entering a year full of questions. Terron Armstead, the second-year left tackle, has looked promising, but lacks pro experience. The competition at center between Goodwin and Tim Lelito seems to be at an end as Goodwin rested during the fourth preseason game, like the other starters.
Akiem Hicks (LDE), Brodrick Bunkley (NT), Cam Jordan (RDE)
Jordan has emerged as a stud on the line and is among the league’s best at getting to the quarterback. Hicks will need to step up on the other side to help alleviate some attention from Jordan. With all the young, rising pass-rushers, Bunkley is tasked with holding down the middle and stuffing the run.
Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne
Lofton has never been a flashy player, but since joining New Orleans he took over for Jonathan Vilma and has filled in nicely. Hawthorne is potentially the weak link on this front-seven. If he can elevate his run-support game to the next level this season, so can this unit.
Junior Galette, Parys Haralson
In his fourth year in the NFL, Galette shined. Rob Ryan’s switch to the 3-4 defense was huge in his transformation. He, along with Jordan, looks to be among the league’s most feared pass-rush tandems. Haralson, much like Hawthorne, is a weak link in this system. Having two elite pass-rushers is great, but if he can add a third, this defense would be scary.
Keenan Lewis, Patrick Robinson
Last season Lewis showed his potential as a lockdown corner. With the emerging pass-rush in the front-seven, Lewis will be relied on heavily to hold his own on Lewis-Island. With Jabari Greer out of town, Robinson looks to get the start. The former first round pick has been anything but stellar through this point in his career. As the weak spot in the Saints’ starting secondary, he’ll need to step up his game.
Jairus Byrd (FS), Kenny Vaccaro (SS)
Few units have been hyped up as much as this one heading into the 2014 season, and rightfully so. As a rookie, Kenny Vaccaro showed flashes of why the Saints used the 15th pick of the draft on him. An injury shortened his season, but he looks to be a key piece of the defense. Jairus Byrd has quickly become one of the best defensive playmakers. The safety tandem should be one of the league’s best.
Thomas Morstead (P), Travaris Cadet (KR)
Thomas Morstead has been solid for the Saints for the last five seasons. The team doesn’t punt often, but he gets the job done. Travaris Cadet will continue to handle his return duties from last year, but don’t be surprised to see rookie Brandin Cooks take some of these touches. As of now, there are no kickers on the roster. With only five days until kickoff, look for a signing sooner rather than later.