A month ago, most New Orleans Saints fans had never heard of running back Travaris Cadet. But three weeks into the 2012 preseason, more Saints fans are talking about Cadet than Drew Brees. Like most running backs in New Orleans, Cadet can also run pass patterns and he can even return kicks.
New Orleans always finds outstanding running backs that went undrafted. Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory are two other Saints running backs that NFL scouts overlooked. Today, the hot topic of conversation in New Orleans is whether Travaris Cadet can earn a spot on the deepest running back corps in the NFL.
Travaris Cadet has improved as a running back in each Saints preseason game. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cadet averaged 9.3 yards per carry. Cadet has also shown a remarkable acumen for the Saints' passing game. In three games, Travaris Cadet has 200 receiving yards on 25 receptions for two TDs.
Although Cadet has also done a fine job as a returner, he has no chance at unseating Darren Sproles in that role. However, knowing that he is a capable replacement in case Sproles gets injured could help Cadet become a Saints running back. In short, Travaris Cadet seemingly brings a lot more to New Orleans than Chris Ivory.
The presumption among New Orleans fans is that if Cadet earns a roster spot, it would be at the expense of Chris Ivory. Like Cadet, Chris Ivory was also undrafted and became an outstanding running back. As a Saints running back, Ivory has gained 1,090 yards on 216 carries since 2010.
However, Chris Ivory has never been able to stay healthy in New Orleans and he has struggled at times at running back this preseason. Without the all-around game of Darren Sproles, the experience of Pierre Thomas, and the first round pedigree of Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory's roster spot at running back is in jeopardy.
Every year, there are numerous surprise cuts in the NFL. If Sean Payton was coaching the Saints, I wouldn't be surprised to see an unexpected cut at running back. But Joe Vitt is not going to do anything crazy at running back like cutting Ingram or Thomas.
However, New Orleans cannot afford to put Travaris Cadet on the practice squad because another NFL team will claim him. And despite the debate raging in New Orleans, I do not believe the Saints will cut Chris Ivory either. There is a way the Saints could keep all five running backs without inhibiting the final roster.
Don't be surprised if one of the Saints running backs suffers a mysterious injury over the next two weeks. The NFL injured reserve allows a player to stay with his team while not counting against the 53-man roster. Chris Ivory and Travaris Cadet will both stay in New Orleans, one way or another.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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