The New Orleans Saints are coming off of a bittersweet season, as they won the NFC South for the fourth year in a row and went a perfect 6-0 against divisional opponents -- including sweeping Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the regular season. However, they were ousted from the postseason by the Buccaneers in the divisional round, which happened to be Drew Brees' final NFL game.
The Saints also found themselves in a cap predicament at the very worst time, but were able to find a way to get below the set number. Still, it cost them parting ways with several starters via release or by allowing them to walk in free agency. This Saints roster will look different in 2021 -- especially with a new quarterback under center.
Below, we will break down what the Saints' 2021 depth chart could look like. Several players mentioned will not make the 53-man roster, but let's take a look at what a rough depth chart would look like for New Orleans right now.
Rookies will be denoted with a (*).
Easop Winston Jr.*
All eyes will be on this quarterback competition in the coming months. Hill has acted as more of a gadget player for the Saints while Winston has multiple years of experience as a starting quarterback, which is why I have him ultimately winning this battle. Another reason Winston could potentially be the frontrunner is because head coach Sean Payton will have more flexibility to continue to use Hill wherever he wants on the field.
The wide receivers are an interesting group. Obviously you have Thomas, but with the loss of Emmanuel Sanders, someone will have to step up in his place. Keep an eye on Callaway here. The undrafted rookie out of Tennessee caught just 21 passes in 11 games last season, but did average 10.1 yards per reception and recorded three starts. Smith is another player who could have a bigger role in 2021, and he put up career numbers last year with 34 receptions for 448 yards and four touchdowns. I also liked that Harris became more of a legitimate receiver last year instead of just a return specialist. He caught 20 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown in nine games played. With Jared Cook and Josh Hill gone, the door is open for Trautman to make an impact in his second year. The third-round pick out of Dayton caught 15 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown in 2020.
The starters on the offensive line look great on paper, but maintaining health will be paramount for this group. Armstead and Ramczyk are both fantastic tackles. Expect this group to be a top-10 unit again this season.
The Saints picked up Davenport's fifth-year option, but expect him to still be under pressure to perform. With Trey Hendrickson gone, the Saints hope he can pick up some of the sack production. If not, New Orleans picked defensive end Payton Turner in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft for a reason. He was a late, high-riser on draft boards, and recorded 25 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in just five games played for Houston last season. As for the interior of the defensive line, losing Malcom Brown hurts, but Tuttle could fill that void. Fans will remember his ridiculous stiff arm on Matt Ryan.
Kwon Alexander is gone, and so is Alex Anzalone. That means a couple of young guys are going to have to step up in their place. Baun is a second-year player out of Wisconsin who was a third-round pick in 2020, and Werner is an Ohio State product who the Saints took in the second round of this year's draft. He has some experience playing in the middle, but could start on the weak side.
The Saints lost Janoris Jenkins, but they still retained the majority of their starters in the secondary. New Orleans placed the franchise tag on Williams to keep him in the fold, and also returns Malcolm Jenkins at strong safety. As for corner, Lattimore is obviously the star, and then players like Gardner-Johnson and Robinson will battle for the other starting spot. It's also possible New Orleans signs another veteran to come in and compete.