The New Orleans Saints' 53-man roster has become official, as we are just a week away from the start of the 2021 regular season. With no Drew Brees, Sean Payton is putting his faith in the big-armed Jameis Winston, who was declared the starter after a quarterback battle with Taysom Hill. He won't have Michael Thomas to throw to at the beginning of the year, but does have a budding star in Marquez Callaway.
The Saints found themselves in a cap predicament at the very worst time this offseason, 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, but this team has enough talent to repeat as division champs.
Below, we will break down the Saints' 2021 depth chart. It's not set in stone just yet, but we have enough information to go off of after cut-down day.
Rookies will be denoted with a (*).
Tony Jones Jr.
Michael Thomas (PUP)
Winston is your new starting quarterback, which is a good move as Payton can continue to use Hill in a variety of different ways since he's not tied up being QB1. 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. That figures to be Callaway. The undrafted weapon out of Tennessee had an impressive preseason, and caught 21 passes in 11 games last year. He also averaged 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 at tight end 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 -- which will greatly help in Winston's transition.
David Onyemata (SUS)
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 and Onyemata being suspended for six games doesn't help either. Hopefully Roach and Tuttle can fill that void.
Alex Anzalone is gone but thankfully Alexander is back. New Orleans also has high hopes for their young backers. 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.
The Saints lost Janoris Jenkins and have had some issues at cornerback this offseason. From retirements to surprise cuts, this unit could see an addition very soon via trade. As of now, Lattimore and Crawley are listed as the starters and the rookie Adebo should see some playing time as well.