Meet the Team: Who is Saints safety Ugo Amadi, and what’s expected of him in 2023?

Who is New Orleans Saints safety Ugo Amadi, and what are realistic expectations for him in 2023? The unheralded free agent pickup surprised a lot of fans by picking the coveted No. 0 jersey after signing with the Saints, and now he’s in the middle of an offseason competition for a spot on the roster. But will he hold onto that sought-after jersey and make it through roster cuts later this summer?

We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, let’s get to know him a little better:

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Amadi weighed in at 5-foot-9 and 199 pounds coming out of Oregon, timing the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds with an unofficial Relative Athletic Score of 5.34 (RAS card here). A four-star recruit at Overton High School in Nashville, he left the Ducks after a 51-game career from 2015 to 2018.

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Amadi was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft at No. 132 overall. He earned a lot of snaps as Seattle’s primary nickel defender in 2020 and 2021, playing 588 and 692 snaps, respectively; the majority of those were spent guarding the slot. He’s also played a lot of special teams snaps covering kicks and punts while blocking field goal tries through his four-year career.

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Amadi was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 15, 2022 (in exchange for tight end J.J. Arcega-Whiteside) but he never played a game for Philly. The Eagles traded him to the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 24 while swapping late-round picks in 2024 — ironically, the Saints could end up with that pick if the Titans finish with a better record than the Eagles this year, though that’s unlikely.

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Amadi only appeared in two games for Tennessee last year (playing almost exclusively in the slot) before being waived, but he finished the 2022 season on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad and won a Super Bowl ring because of it. The Chiefs opted to not retain him on a reserve/future deal after celebrating their championship win, which is how he wound up in New Orleans.

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Per Pro Football Focus charting, Amadi has only allowed one touchdown completion to be thrown into his coverage, but he’s yielded a completion percentage of 80.1% at a worrisome 9.8 yards per catch, missing a lot of tackles (12.8%) to give up more than 6 yards after the catch per reception. There’s a reason he’s on his fifth roster in less than a year.

So what are the expectations for Amadi in 2023? Right now, he’s penciled in as the backup to Bradley Roby as the team’s slot defender, and he’ll need to show he can play that role well while helping out on special teams in order to make the team. Rookie draft pick Jordan Howden (fifth round out of Minnesota) was one of the country’s better slot defenders in college football last year and he should push Amadi for a roster spot right out of the gate. It should be a good competition between a talented first-year pro and an NFL veteran who’s seen it all.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire