3 potential training camp roster cuts for the New Orleans Saints
There is no question that the New Orleans Saints will enter the 2019 regular season as one of the most talented — and feared — teams in the entire NFL. With New Orleans coming up just shy of an NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl last season, the Saints could very well be the last team standing this time around.
While the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, and Philadelphia Eagles project to serve as the biggest threats to the Saints in the NFC come the 2019 campaign, New Orleans will once again bring an incredibly well-rounded roster to the table. Because of the NFC South franchise’s ability to string together a high-powered offense, a stout defense, and a respected special teams unit, the Saints will have some tough decisions to make come the end of training camp.
Due to the team’s depth at just about every position heading into the latter portion of the summer, there will be more than a few roster cuts that will come sooner rather than later as a result of this year’s installment of offseason activities.
Marcus Henry, OL
Because the New Orleans Saints currently possess an abundance of talent along the team’s offensive front, interior offensive lineman Marcus Henry could quickly become an odd man out. The 26-year-old stands at 6’3″ while weighing just over 300 pounds and was originally signed by the Saints as an undrafted free agent back in 2016 out of Boise State.
However, despite his size and ability to serve as a legitimate presence up the middle, the Saints may have too many interior offensive linemen for the up-and-comer to get a real shot at making the team’s final 53-man roster. In addition to Henry, the Saints also feature the likes of Will Clapp, Larry Warford, Cameron Tom, Nick Easton, Ryan Groy, Patrick Omameh and Marshall Newhouse at the respective interior offensive line positions.
With a slew of veterans among that group, it could ultimately be the youngsters that get the boot as a result of training camp.
Nick Moore, LS
It is no secret that the New Orleans Saints are one of the more unusual teams in the league when it comes to special teams personnel. With quarterback turned wide receiver turned key special teamer Taysom Hill emerging as a formidable NFL player over the course of the last few seasons, the Saints have continued to get creative in all facets of the game — but especially on special teams.
However, not even the Saints need to carry two long snappers heading into the 2019 season. As a result of the team’s depth at this position, it appears as though long snapper Nick Moore won’t make it out of camp this year. Moore did appear in 23 games across four seasons for the heralded Georgia Bulldogs while ultimately becoming one of three winners of the SEC powerhouse’s Special Teams Most Improved Player Award.
The 26-year-old, now a rookie for the Saints, stands at 6’3″ while weighing an even 250 pounds, which means that he could surely serve as a professional long snapper — just not in New Orleans at this time.
The issue is the presence of veteran long snapper Zach Wood, who was initially signed to a free agent contract by the Saints ahead of the 2017 season-opener. Prior to his arrival in New Orleans, Wood spent parts of a few seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
Most importantly, Wood was the Saints long snapper for all punts and placekicks in all 16 regular-season games and two playoff games last season.
Michael Burton/Zach Line, FBs
In the absence of current Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram, it will be the Alvin Kamara show on a full-time basis come next season. As a result, the Saints will likely keep one full back heading into the 2018 campaign to ensure that Kamara remains as upright as possible going forward. While blocking up front is vital, the presence of a full back could help Kamara create even more running room — which doesn’t bode well for opposing franchises.
With that in mind, the Saints will be forced to choose between veteran full backs Michael Burton and Zach Line.
While Burton was originally a fifth-round NFL Draft pick by the Detroit Lions in 2015, he will enter 2019 with 55 career games and 11 starts under his belt. He has suited up for both the Lions and Chicago Bears over the course of four NFL seasons. On the other hand, Line will gear up for 2019 having appeared in 63 career games alongside 20 starts while spending time with the Minnesota Vikings and Saints. After four seasons in Minnesota, he joined the Saints last season to help New Orleans’ potent offense.
As you can see, this might be one of the better training camp battles the Saints have to offer this time around.