Backup left tackle Landon Young (knee) returns to Saints practice

This is good to see. The New Orleans Saints welcomed third-year offensive tackle Landon Young back to practice on Monday; he had been out for several weeks resting a knee injury. He was a candidate to start the season on injured reserve but the team wanted to give him time to try out his knee before putting him on ice for four weeks. It seems like he’ll be able to dodge that.

Young has been an important depth player for the Saints at both tackle spots. He played exclusively on the left side in college at Kentucky before being picked in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft, and the team cross-trained him at right tackle last season to see if he could be a viable backup for Ryan Ramczyk.

And that’s likely his role moving into the fall. Young can (hypothetically) fill in at either tackle spot in relief of Ramczyk or Trevor Penning, though it remains to be seen whether he can hold up for an extended look in the starting lineup. He’s only started four games in his career: 2021’s road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles (in which he suffered a season-ending injury) and 2022 matchups with the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers at home, also playing the majority of snaps in last season’s rematch with Philly. Two of those games have been at left tackle and the other two on the right side.

The Saints must be feeling optimistic after his return to practice. They released another backup lineman from the practice squad in Mark Evans II, one of their highest-valued rookie free agents. That leaves them with Trevor Penning expected to start at left tackle against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday and Young as his backup, though Andrus Peat or James Hurst is an option depending on how heavily they want to shake up the line in the event of an injury. Veteran right tackle Storm Norton is also still on the roster as a backup for Ramczyk.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire