While those usual big names will be huge producers for the Saints this season, there are some preseason standouts that managed to make the 53-man roster that will contribute.
Most preseason hopefuls were sent packing to the practice squad or back to their day jobs, but these players made a name for themselves and are set to carry their preseason efforts into the regular season.
Travaris Cadet, RB
Cadet was an undrafted rookie looking for an employer this offseason. He felt like the Saints roster was the best possible place he could land.
Both Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory were undrafted rookies that made the Saints roster, and Cadet saw them as inspirations.
I look at it as if, especially like Pierre Thomas he took me under his wing. Guys like, Chris Ivory and Junior Galette, guys that have made the team, guys who have made sacrifices to make the team, and guys who have gained that respect and that trust within the players and the coaching staff. I look up to those guys because they came in here from square one like I did and they had to make all the sacrifices you have to make to make this team.
Cadet was the Saints' most impressive player this preseason. Through his performance on the field, he forced the Saints to keep him on the roster. They now arguably have the deepest backfield in the NFL with five rostered running backs (Thomas, Ivory, Cadet, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles).
In the preseason, Cadet carried the ball 39 times for 132 yards, but his real contributions came in the passing game. Cadet had a team-high 30 receptions—twice the amount of the closest player behind him—for 246 yards and two touchdowns.
Cadet's skill set is similar to Sproles', but he is much larger. Cadet is listed at 6'1", 210 pounds.
Expect to see Cadet in the slot, occasionally in the backfield and returning kicks alongside Sproles. The Saints would not have kept Cadet if they did not see a role for him on the team.
He has the potential to be a breakout star for the Saints this season.
Joe Morgan and Courtney Roby, WR
If Drew Brees has taught us anything during his time in New Orleans, it is that he can make decent receivers looks like Pro Bowlers.
Robert Meachem was a prime example of this, but he took off for San Diego in the offseason.
Joe Morgan, an undrafted free agent, made a name for himself during the 2011 preseason, but was sent to the injured reserve after having surgery on a torn meniscus.
Morgan has not been quite as impressive this preseason, catching 15 balls for 182 yards and two touchdowns, but the team knows he has potential to be a big-play threat.
Brees told the Shreveport Times:
He is one of those guys that you put him on the field on game day and he can kind of open your eyes and (make you) say ‘Wow, who is this guy? He has this raw talent and now he just needs to cultivate that.
Courtney Roby has been a career journeyman at the wide receiver position in the NFL, but he could have a breakout year this season. Roby has been primarily a special teams contributor, but could help fill the hole left by Meachem's departure.
Roby had 10 receptions for 146 yards in the preseason.
Morgan and Roby will both see playing time in the regular season and should figure into the Saints offensive equation. New Orleans runs a five-wide set more often than most teams, so both players will have their chances to shine.
Tyrunn Walker, DT
Yet another undrafted free agent to make the roster, Walker had a tremendous camp and preseason for the Saints.
When veteran defensive tackle Remi Ayodele was cut by the team, it became likely that the Saints were going to keep Walker on the roster.
Walker, much like Cadet, made it hard for the Saints to let him go. Walker recorded eight tackles and a team-high three sacks during the preseason.
Walker played big, had active hands, held his ground and opened up holes for other defenders to make plays.
He will likely start very low on the depth chart, but the Saints have a tendency to rotate linemen. Also, the team will likely lose defensive end Will Smith to a four-game suspension. With Walker, the team now has nine defensive linemen on the roster to compensate for the loss of Smith.
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