If I Were GM: Picking The Saints Final Roster
By Greg Barber
The New Orleans Saints lost to the Miami Dolphins 24-21 in a sloppy, up-and-down showing in the final preseason contest for both teams. For the most part, no player really stated their case for a roster spot as they should have.
RB Khiry Robinson rushed for 115 yards in the game but fumbled twice while WRs Preston Parker and Andy Tanner did not quite solidify a position on this roster either, which leaves everything up in the air.
DE/LB Jay Richardson was one player who did use the final preseason matchup to state his case and show he has what it takes to make the team but overall, everyone else seems to be leaving it up to the coaches and general manager to figure it out.
I have decided to take this opportunity to put on my GM hat and spell out how I believe the roster should look come Week 1. Be sure to check it out and tell me what you think:
QB - Drew Brees, Ryan Griffin
Ryan Griffin completed 32 of 59 passes for 380 yds, two TDs and one INT. He averaged 6.4 yards per pass and finished the preseason with a 78.4 quarterback rating.
Fellow backup Luke McCown completed 28 of 42 passes for 378 yards, four TDs and one INT and averaged 8.0 yards per pass. He finished with a quarterback rating of 107.4.
There is no question that McCown outplayed Griffin during the preseason, and my instincts initially wanted to keep Griffin over McCown. After much flip-flopping, I decided that it made the most sense to follow my instinct and choose Griffin because if Drew Brees gets hurt, I simply do not see McCown being the answer.
RB - Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Khiry Robinson
My gut instinct tells me to keep Robinson over Cadet, and I think head coach Sean Payton will do the same. Cadet is a decent player and a fan favorite, but this GM is not as big a fan of his. Robinson is a better running back from the line of scrimmage, plus he can catch passes out of the backfield.
FB - Jed Collins
I liked Austin Johnson just like everyone else, but there is only one fullback needed on this team.
TE - Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson, Michael Higgins
Unfortunately, none of the other tight ends in camp showed enough promise to make the lineup except for the outside possibility of Payton moving Austin Johnson to the tight end position.
WR - Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Kenny Stills, Nick Toon, Courtney Roby, Preston Parker
I debated long and hard about keeping Andy Tanner over Preston Parker, but Parker can help the team in the special teams department moreso than Tanner. Parker is a very good player, and I had seen him several times with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he was released. I think he can be a good asset to the Saints in the long run.
OT - Zach Strief, Charles Brown, Terron Armstead, Bryce Harris
There was not much change to be expected with these four even though Bryce Harris was a little shaky, which definitely bothered me a little to see that of a veteran lineman.
G/C - Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs, Brian de la Puente, Tim Lelito
Lelito would not be a surprise to make the team as he definitely outplayed his competition in my opinion. The others did not have much competition for their positions in camp this year.
DE - Cameron Jordan, Akiem Hicks, Tyrunn Walker, Glenn Foster
Tyrunn Walker and Glenn Foster showed that they were keepers and really should get some time in the rotation. Foster was a pleasant surprise in the sense that I saw the potential from his college film but thought he would end up on the practice squad this season.
DT - Brodrick Bunkley, John Jenkins
These two were no-brainers to make my Saints roster. They both played well during the preseason and both can play the defensive end position, which can pose a lot of concern for opposing lines.
OLB - Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, Parys Haralson, Jay Richardson, Rufus Johnson
With injuries to Victor Butler and Will Smith, the Saints had to scramble a little at the linebacker position. Haralson has the most experience and hopefully he can get acclimated to the defense sooner rather than later and possibly even help the other linebackers become better at the position.
ILB - Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, Ramon Humber, Will Herring, Kevin Reddick,
I think the time has finally come shut Jonathan Vilma down for the year and realize that he has lost a couple of steps and will not be back to the Vilma we were accustomed to seeing anytime soon. Therefore, it would make sense to put him on injured reserve for the season and deal with his situation during the offseason. Without a doubt, this is Curtis Lofton's defense now and Hawthorne has emerged as I expected him to and should start. Humber has been playing pretty well this preseason as well. As far as Will Herring is concerned, if it were not for special teams duties, I could not see any other reason to keep him on the roster.
S - Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Kenny Vaccaro, Rafael Bush, Isa Abdul-Quddus
The Saints safeties will be a good bunch as rookie Kenny Vaccaro has been a nice upgrade to the secondary and will push Jenkins and Harper to be better players. Harper will definitely have a role in the backend of the defense as long as Rob Ryan is game planning to his strengths.
CB - Jabari Greer, Keenan Lewis, Patrick Robinson, Corey White, Rod Sweeting
My reason for keeping Sweeting on the team is that you can never have enough good cornerbacks and Sweeting will become a really good one in the future.
ST - Thomas Morstead, Garrett Hartley, Justin Drescher
Morstead and Drescher have been pretty reliable players, but Hartley has been very shaky over the last few years. Hopefully he can regain his consistency this season and become a reliable weapon for New Orleans.
Well, this is the best 53 men on the Saints roster in my opinion. How do you think I did in my day as Saints GM? I am looking forward to your comments below. Until next time #whodat!