It marked the third straight year the Saints were eliminated in the playoffs in gut-wrenching fashion, with two of those losses coming at the hands of the Vikings.
Can New Orleans possibly rebound from such a brutal stretch?
It certainly has the talent; that’s for sure.
The Saints are once again considered one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl heading into next season, but they will need elevated performances from a few players to realize their potential.
Here are three potential breakout players for New Orleans in 2020:
3. Marcus Williams, Safety
Most people know Marcus Williams who missed that tackle on wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the Saints’ devastating playoff loss to the Vikings back in January 2018. That’s a shame, because Williams is developing into a fine safety.
The 23-year-old had a really nice year in 2019, registering 55 tackles, four interceptions and 13 passes defended. As a matter of fact, a legitimate argument can be mad that Williams already broke out this past season.
But here’s the thing: Williams is entering a contract year in 2020, so he certainly knows that he can make himself some big money by playing even better.
Williams definitely isn’t one of the biggest names on a Saints defense that includes Cam Jordan, Marshon Lattimore and Sheldon Rankins, but he may become a more known commodity sooner than you think.
2. Tre’Quan Smith, Wide Receiver
New Orleans finally went out and landed a No. 2 receiver to put alongside of Michael Thomas this offseason, signing seasoned veteran Emmanuel Sanders in free agency.
And while that means Tre’Quan Smith will be the clear-cut No. 3 guy in 2020, it also means that he could be finding himself open with defenses paying so much attention to Thomas and Sanders.
Smith logged 18 catches for 234 yards this past year, but five of those grabs went for touchdowns, indicating that he obviously has some big-play ability.
He posted similar numbers in 2018, hauling in 28 receptions for 427 yards and five scores.
I’m not saying that Smith will suddenly become a Fantasy Football monster or anything, but with secondaries likely paying so much mind to Thomas and Sanders, Smith may be left unattended at times.
1. Marcus Davenport, Defensive Lineman
A first-round pick of the Saints in 2018, Marcus Davenport displayed some flashes in his sophomore campaign, registering 31 tackles, six sacks and three forced fumbles.
While Jordan is obviously the marquee name along New Orleans’ defensive front, Davenport has a chance to make a significant impact in 2020.
He already showed marginal improvement this past year, so if his current trajectory continues, he should have a pretty big year this coming season.
Will Davenport end up with double-digit sacks? It’s a possibility, especially with Jordan and Rankins attracting so much attention in the trenches.
The 23-year-old was the 14th overall pick for a reason a couple of years ago, so it would not be the least bit surprising if he broke out in a major way.