The New Orleans Saints find themselves in an awkward period for their franchise. They haven't had any sustained success following Drew Brees' retirement in 2021. Dennis Allen is on the hot seat, and Derek Carr does not inspire a lot of confidence as a starting QB. He is definitely a solid starter, but you can't view Carr as the future of the franchise.

That being said, the Saints have some exciting young pieces on both sides of the ball. Their future is not entirely dreary.

Chris Olave, Taliese Fuaga, and Kendre Miller are exciting offensive players who the Saints will build around. The same goes for Bryan Bresee, Kool-Aid McKinstry, and Khristian Boyd on defense.

In terms of expectations, the Saints are stuck in no man's land. They should be a competitive team in a weak NFC South division, though they may be closer to the bottom than they realize. Even so, they would likely need to win the division and win a playoff game at least to validate this regime and earn them another season. That feels very unlikely at this point in the offseason.

However, that doesn't mean it is impossible. If the Saints receive some major contributions from some of their lesser-known players, they could have a great season.

Let's explore two Saints sleepers who could have a huge impact on their 2024 season.

Is Equanimeous St. Brown the final piece of the Saints' wide receiver room?

The Saints signed St. Brown to a one-year contract during free agency. He joins the Saints' wide receiver room behind Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, and Cedrick Wilson Jr. as a rotational depth player and special teamer.

The lesser St. Brown brother has never been given a huge target share in his NFL career. His most productive years came in his rookie year with the Packers and his first season in Chicago. Both stat lines are almost identical with St. Brown hauling in 21 passes for roughly 320 receiving yards.

It is fair to question whether he can succeed in a high-volume receiving role. He has never shown that in the NFL. However, he does not need to become a top-end wide receiver to be a valuable piece of the Saints' offense.

If Equanimeous St. Brown can become a reliable WR4 coming off the bench, he would make the Saints' offense ever more deadly. If the Saints were four deep at receiver, they could call a wider variety of plays to further unlock their passing offense.

It is easy to argue that St. Brown should be seeing the field more often as a rotation player as well. He has solid hands and regularly receives high marks from PFF on his run and pass blocking skills. Don't be surprised if the Saints throw him in the slot when calling running plays out of 11 personnel.

The Saints need Chase Young to have a monster season

Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Chase Young (92) reacts against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, the Saints lost Tanoh Kpassagnon to an Achilles injury and he will likely miss the entire 2024 NFL season. This was a crushing blow early in the offseason program which has left the Saints trying to figure out how to replace his production.

Chase Young could be the answer to that question.

The Saints signed Young to a one-year $13 million contract after he left the 49ers, who traded for him midseason.

Availability has been Young's issue throughout his young NFL career. His healthiest season was his rookie year where he played in 15 games. He hasn't played in more than nine games in any of the four seasons since.

As long as Young can stay healthy, he could become a major contributor on New Orleans' defense.

It may benefit Young to be deployed as the third defensive end in a starting rotation instead of one of the primary pillars of a unit. Young will likely substitute in for Cameron Jordan and Carl Granderson, or may see the field with both of them on passing downs. This may reduce the wear and tear on Young's body and keep him fresh for maximum effectiveness.

Saints fans should watch Young closely throughout the summer and into training camp and the preseason.