Look: Breaking down the Saints’ initial 53-man roster

The New Orleans Saints have finished their cutdowns to their initial 53-man roster. There will be additional moves made over the course of the coming days including players moving to injured reserve, practice squad signings and even potential new additions as well. Not every player that was moved on from today has seen their last chance with the team. Here’s a look, position-by-position at the Saints’ initial 53-man roster:

Quarterbacks (2)

  • No.2 Jameis Winston

  • No. 14 Andy Dalton

  • Roster cuts: No. 16 Ian Book

This wasn’t very shocking. The Saints moved on from second-year quarterback Ian Book on Tuesday but it’s likely he’ll be back on the practice squad. With Taysom Hill on the roster and taking up a tight end spot, it seems likely that the roster would shake out with just two quarterbacks.

Running backs (5)

  • No. 41 Alvin Kamara

  • No. 5 Mark Ingram II

  • No. 24 Dwayne Washington

  • No. 34 Tony Jones Jr

  • No. 46 Adam Prentice (fullback)

  • Roster cuts: No. 33 Abram Smith (rookie)

The Saints have the luxury to basically run it back with the same group it had last year toward the end of the season. After acquiring Ingram via trade and getting a year added to his deal, it was easy to tell who the top two were going to be between he and Kamara. After that, the camp battle waged on for the next running back spots. Hard to pass up on Washington and Jones who had solid offseasons. Meanwhile, the fullback lives on in New Orleans.

Tight ends (4)

  • No. 82 Adam Trautman

  • No. 7 Taysom Hill

  • No. 83 Juwan Johnson

  • No. 81 Nick Vannett

  • Roster cuts: No. 88 J.P. Holtz, No. 44 Lucas Krull (rookie)

Hill being not only one of your top tight ends, but backup quarterback is unique, yes, but not out of the question. Meanwhile, he’s joined by the same group as last season, Trautman feels that he’s taken steps forward in his game after finally having a full offseason available to him without the previous alterations via COVID protocols. Johnson gives the Saints a dynamic pass-catcher while Vannett brings experience and great blocking ability. This is a well-rounded room.

Wide receivers (6)

  • No. 13 Michael Thomas

  • No. 12 Chris Olave (rookie)

  • No. 80 Jarvis Landry

  • No. 1 Marquez Callaway

  • No. 11 Deonte Harty

  • No. 10 Tre’Quan Smith

  • Roster cuts: No. 85 Kirk Merritt, No. 84 Dai’Jean Dixon (rookie), No. 89 Rashid Shaheed (rookie)

  • Suspended: No. 87 Kawaan Baker

It feels like this group isn’t completely set yet until we know more about Smith’s injury. He came down hard with what looked like a shoulder injury against the Chargers in the preseason finale. If that injury isn’t of much concern, then this is likely to be the group carried into Atlanta next weekend. However, if it is, he could be moved to injured reserve after making the roster. That would open up a spot for Merritt, Dixon, or Shaheed to return. Baker is suspended for the first six games of the season, meaning the Saints can carry him on their roster without taking up a spot. This position has come a long way in just one year.

Offensive tackles (5)

  • No. 71 Ryan Ramczyk

  • No. 74 James Hurst

  • No. 70 Trevor Penning (rookie)

  • No. 67 Landon Young

  • No. 66 Lewis Kidd (rookie)

  • Roster cuts: No. 62 Derrick Kelly, No. 63 Khalique Washington (rookie),

The two keys to watch here are whether or not Penning goes to injured reserve for at least the first four games and whether or not the Saints look for more depth in his absence. This looks to be the group least settled on the initial roster. Look for more moves here over the coming days. Kidd becomes the only undrafted free agent rookie to make the initial roster this year.

Offensive guards/centers (4)

  • No. 78 Erik McCoy (center)

  • No. 75 Andrus Peat

  • No. 51 Cesar Ruiz

  • No. 76 Calvin Throckmorton

  • Roster cuts: No. 68 Josh Andrews, No. 72 Nick Martin, No. 64 Derek Schweiger (rookie)

Another position group that shook out about the way many expected. Seeing Martin waived could mean that he’ll be back on the practice squad soon. That would be a smart move by the Saints who otherwise would see two positions impacted by an injury at center. Not ideal with the depth challenges the team currently faces on the offensive line.

Special teams (3)

  • No. 3 Wil Lutz (kicker)

  • No. 4 Blake Gillikin (punter)

  • No. 49 Zach Wood (long snapper)

  • Roster cuts: N/A

  • Practice squad: N/A

Not a single surprise here. One of the most steady units across the league. Never a question especially since Lutz returned from injury.

Defensive ends (5)

  • No. 94 Cameron Jordan

  • No. 92 Marcus Davenport

  • No. 98 Payton Turner

  • No. 96 Carl Granderson

  • No. 90 Tanoh Kpassagnon

  • Roster cuts: No. 54 Taco Charlton, No. 60 Niko Lalos

The Saints will go into the 2022 season, at least initially, with the same defensive end group as last season. Since 2017, the team has notched more than 40 sacks each season and the edge group has been a big part of that success. Charlton had a very solid offseason, but the numbers are just hard to come by at this position.

Defensive tackles (4)

  • No. 93 David Onyemata

  • No. 99 Shy Tuttle

  • No. 91 Kentavius Street

  • No. 97 Malcolm Roach

  • Roster cuts: No. 59 Jordan Jackson (rookie), No. 57 Josh Black (rookie)

  • Injured reserve: No. 95 Albert Huggins

The addition of Street helps to bolster the interior defensive line room for the Saints. Meanwhile, they go in with a solid group that they know well of Onyemata, Tuttle, and Roach. Roach battled an injury the final preseason game against the Chargers but returned tot he field. Since then, he’ll be out of practice. But judging by this group, he may be expected back sooner than later.

Linebackers (5)

  • No. 56 Demario Davis

  • No. 20 Pete Werner

  • No. 55 Kaden Elliss

  • No. 53 Zack Baun

  • No. 50 Andrew Dowell

  • Roster cuts: No. 58 Eric Wilson, No. 47 Jon Bostic, No. 40 Chase Hansen, No. 45 Nephi Sewell (rookie)

I was surprising to see Wilson let go after a strong offseason with the team. Many thought that his veteran experience and performance were enough to keep him on the roster. Perhaps he becomes a player that returns after another has gone to IR. Sewell had a late surge in camp, getting first team reps. He’ll be a prime practice squad candidate. Expect this position to continue to see action.

Safeties (6)

  • No. 32 Tyrann Mathieu

  • No. 6 Marcus Maye

  • No. 26 P.J. Williams

  • No. 48 J.T. Gray

  • No. 30 Justin Evans

  • No. 25 Daniel Sorensen

  • Traded: No. 22 C.J. Gardner-Johnson

The trade that shook the NFL and Saints fans on Tuesday morning happened when the Saints sent Gardner-Johnson and pick to Philadelphia in return for multiple daft selections.That trade opened the door for Evans and Williams to potentially have larger roles in the defense and for Sorenson to make the roster as a core special teamer.

Cornerbacks (4)

  • No. 23 Marshon Lattimore

  • No. 29 Paulson Adebo

  • No. 21 Bradley Roby

  • No. 27 Alontae Taylor (rookie)

  • Roster cuts: No. 39 DaMarcus Fields (rookie), No. 35 Vincent Gray (rookie), No. 43 Quenton Meeks, No. 37 Brian Allen

The Gardner-Johnson trade also opens up the opportunity for Roby, who had a great camp, to have a larger role in the slot particularly. Roby has taken over 800 snaps in the slot and produced some good numbers in the process. Lattimore and Adebo are the team’s clear starters while Taylor develops in a key piece as the Saints hope in the near future.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire