Kristian: Players battling for positions as Saints camp starts
Kristian@wwl.com - The Saints roster is a tough one to make because of the talent on the team. There is Superstar talent on the offensive side, and some ascending players on the defensive side.
WWL NFL analyst Mike Detillier tells me that many players on the bubble will need to stand out on special teams. "Special teams is always where a guy can make the roster as a young undrafted guy or a rookie draft pick," explains Detillier.
There are a couple of unsettled positions on the Saints that you should keep an eye on throughout training camp. First up: Who will be the nickel back? It's a position that has become so important in the NFL over the past decade. More and more offenses are using three and four wide receiver sets in the NFL, and you have to match them.
Locked in: Patrick Robinson and Jabari Greer.
Robinson has incrementally improved his play in two years with the Saints, and I think he is poised to make huge strides in his third year. Greer is the team’s best cornerback, and might just be one of the better defensive backs in the NFL. The Saints locked him up to a three-year extension in the offseason. Greer and Robinson are the starters.
In the hunt: Johnny Patrick, Marquis Johnson, Elbert Mack.
Johnson is entering his third season in the NFL after spending some time with Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis as a 7th round draft pick with the Rams in 2010. “You would think he's (Johnny Patrick) the leader in the clubhouse but you might want to look around, through a trade or free agency,” according to Mike Detillier.
Mack has a chance to make it, and as a 5 year veteran he's the most experienced. "That's the area where the Saints don't have a lot of depth, and every team is like that. That's a problem across the league," said Detillier. Corey White is also in this mix, but will factor in more on special teams.
My take: I think it will end up being Johnny Patrick. He was drafted in the third round in 2011 with the idea of a "red-shirt" season last year.
Recievers - Locked in: Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson and Nick Toon.
Colston just signed a huge extension in the off-season. Moore is the model of consistency. Henderson is the team’s best deep threat and run blocker. Toon is penciled in as the fourth wide-out after the team grabbed him in the 4th round back in April. "There is no doubt he'll make this team," said Detillier. "Injuries always make your roster easier to decipher."
In the hunt: Courtney Roby, Adrian Arrington, and Joe Morgan .
"Roby is going to be a tough guy to unseat," said Detillier. Roby's value is on special teams, and that might give him an edge. Arrington has been on the roster as a practice squad player and made the move to the active roster in the post-season last year. He might just be the odd man out in this position group. "Last year, does he make this team if Joe Morgan is healthy? He's always been aided by injury," Detillier pointed out. Arrington has not proven he can play special teams. The most intriguing player is Joe Morgan. He was impressive in training camp and the pre-season last year, but a toe injury forced him to spend the season on injured reserve.
My take: Roby and Morgan make the team here. Roby is to valuable on special teams and Morgan has way to much speed to let walk out of the door.
Oh and by the way…the Saints ARE pretty talented in a lot of areas. Training camp practice gets underway Thursday at 4pm. The practice is open to the public. Saturday is the first padded practice.
Tags : Topics : SportsSocial : SportsLocations : St. LouisPeople : Adrian Arrington, Corey White, Courtney Roby, Devery Henderson, Elbert Mack, Jabari Greer, Joe Morgan, Johnny Patrick, Lance Moore, Marques Colston, Mike Detillier, Nick Toon, Patrick Robinson, Steve Spagnuolo