A depth chart can tell a story. It can tell us which players have impressed at camp, and which players are in the coach's doghouse. Which players we can expect to see on the field and which players will be riding the bench.
It is a useful tool for coaches to affirm and motivate their players. Fans like myself use depth charts to keep up with our favorite teams and make informed fantasy draft decisions.
Sometimes, though, the depth chart doesn't tell the whole story.
A peek at the most recent Saints' cornerback depth chart shows the following order:
1) Jabari Greer
2) Randall Gay
3) Tracy Porter
4) Malcolm Jenkins
5) Jason David
As expected, Greer sits atop the depth chart. You wouldn't place a guy you've been paying $22 million anywhere else.
Jenkins, this year's first-round draft pick, may be down at number four, but that doesn't mean he's not going to play much.
Here's why: Nickel and dime defenses.
The Saints will likely be in a nickel or dime defense as often as they are in their base 4-3. The Saints offense that averaged 28.9 points per game and led the league in scoring is back. Not only can the offense score a lot of points, but they can score them in bunches.
They may even be better than last year.
If the Saints can get up early by 10-14 points, then opposing teams are likely to abandon some of their run game in favor of the pass.
When teams begin to throw the ball a lot, they often use three, four, and sometimes five wide receivers in their formations. This means we will often see three or four cornerbacks on the field at the same time when the Saints are on defense.
So scramble the cornerback depth chart however you want. Heck, you can even put Jason David among the top three.
It's one position where it just doesn't matter.