The New Orleans Saints roster is set heading into the 2023 season. Before we get to the opener against the Tennessee Titans, let’s take another look at the roster. What position is the strongest and which is the weakest? We rank every position group from weakest to strongest.
The rankings were made with the premise that each position group is at full strength. The Saints don’t have any injuries lingering into the season, however, Alvin Kamara will miss the first three games of the season and Marcus Maye could face a suspension at some point. Hopefully the full team will hit the field together sooner rather than later.
This is the worst unit on the team. It isn’t a weak position, but the lack of depth shown in the preseason is alarming. The starters have some question marks as well. Ryan Ramczyk and Erik McCoy are strong proven commodities. Cesar Ruiz must prove last season was the beginning of a trend improvement and not an anomaly. Trevor Penning has yet to play a full game as a starter. If performing at their peak, this will be a strong unit. That still has to be shown though.
This is the biggest unknown on the Saints. This is a completely remodeled unit. Malcolm Roach is the only returner. Khalen Saunders had a strong preseason in run defense and also in rushing the passer. Bryan Bresee looks ready to be an impact player immediately. The optimism is warranted, but there’s a bit of hesitancy until there’s a chance to actually see them in regular season action.
Cameron Jordan leads the charge for the defensive ends. It’s been that way for over a decade at this point. The biggest story in this room is finding the leader of the future or at least a capable running mate. Carl Granderson is stepping into a bigger role and Peyton Turner is hoping for a surge in his third year. The strength of the room lies on the shoulders of those three. Tanoh Kpassagnon and Isaiah Foskey will rotate in as well.
Juwan Johnson is the leader of the group and a candidate for a breakout season. Johnson has steadily improved through his career after transitioning from wide receiver to tight end. Foster Moreau and Jimmy Graham fill out the room behind Johnson. Graham showed during the preseason he still has the ability to be a highly valuable red zone threat at this point in his career.
The New Orleans Saints quarterbacks are a great blend of present, emergency, and future. Derek Carr is an established starter in the NFL. Jameis Winston also has starter experience and is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league. Jake Haener is your developmental rookie who likely won’t see any time this season. Taysom Hill being a versatile piece who occasionally plays quarterback is the cherry on top.
Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye will be a versatile duo in the starting lineup. Both players are coming back for their second year with the team. Both players have the ability to play in the box or play deep. Jordan Howden will also be a part of the team’s dime defense package. Ugo Amadi also provides an interesting depth piece. He can line up at safety or in the slot
If we could just evaluate the starters, linebacker would be pushing for the top spot. Demario Davis and Pete Werner will be the only linebackers on the field most of the time. They make up the best group of starters at any position. The drop off after them is just so steep it has to knock the position down. The Saints are one injury away from things being very bad. Nephi Sewell did show a little promise to be capable of filling in during the preseason games.
Signing Jamaal Williams will prove to be valuable in the early portion of the season. Alvin Kamara is suspended, and Kendre Miller is dealing with a hamstring injury. Training camp suggests Kamara will be featured in the passing game more which sets him up for a bounce back season. The running back trio brings a lot of versatility.
With full health, this position will be deadly and elevate the offense. The starting triumvirate of Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed all provide different specialties and versatility. Keith Kirkwood earned a spot on the roster with an impressive offseason, and A.T. Perry is a rookie who could be the steal of the draft.
Marshon Lattimore very well could be the best player on this roster of any position. He is a true lockdown corner. This puts pressure on Paulson Adebo because he is going to see a lot of targets due to this. Adebo is looking for a bounce back season and Alontae Taylor is moving into the slot. He didn’t look great there in the preseason, but should look much better now that he’s only focusing on slot cornerback. Cornerback takes this top spot because of Lattimore and the high upside of his running mates.