The Saints spent a 4th-round pick on Notre Dame QB Ian Book in the 2021 NFL Draft. Book spent most of the past 3 seasons starting for the Irish, tossing 68 TD passes vs. just 16 INTs over that span. He also sports some rushing upside, going for 1,311 yards and 17 TDs on the ground over that span. Book backed that up with a 4.65-second 40 at his pro day. Going to New Orleans obviously presents long-term opportunity upside if he can develop -- and if Jameis Winston doesn't simply take over the situation.
The Saints grabbed Ohio State LB Pete Werner in the 2nd round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Werner posted solid production over 3 starting seasons, especially the 15.5 tackles for loss and 13 passes defensed. He proved above average in speed score and agility. We'll see about his fit in the New Orleans LB corps.
The Saints picked DE Payton Turner with the 28th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Turner endured some injury issues in college after being a late-bloomer in high school. But he led this edge class in solo tackles per game (3.4) and tackles for loss per game (2.1). He joins a Saints defense that just lost Trey Hendrickson in free agency. Turner figures to start 3rd on the DE depth chart -- at best -- behind Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. (New Orleans exercised the 5th-year option on Davenport on Thursday.)
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport's "read" is that Jameis Winston has the "leg up" on the Saints' starting QB job. Rapoport adds that there will be a competition between Winston and Taysom Hill this summer but that Winston "really impressed in practice" last year. Hill reportedly stepped in when Drew Brees went down only because HC Sean Payton had promised Hill that he'd get an opportunity. This will be 1 of the biggest training camp battles to track -- not only for Winston and Hill's fantasy values, but also Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara's.
QB Jameis Winston has inked a 1-year deal with the Saints that's worth "up to" $12 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. This move has been the league's worst-kept secret. Winston attempted just 11 passes for the Saints last season, but HC Sean Payton must have liked what he saw from the former #1 overall pick throughout the year. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said yesterday that Winston is the Saints' "likely starter" this season -- but ESPN's Dianna Russini reported earlier today that Winston and Taysom Hill will compete for the starting job. Whoever is under center in New Orleans will have easy QB1 upside.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Saints have been working with QB Jameis Winston on a new contract and that he's hearing Winston will be the "likely starter" for New Orleans in 2021. The 2 sides obviously have to actually consummate that with a deal, but this is enough to make us push Winston up the QB rankings a bit -- and Hill down -- for our best-ball drafts.
According to Jeff Duncan of The Athletic, the Saints are “extremely high” on 2nd-year TE Adam Trautman. Duncan went so far as to name Trautman as his top “breakout candidate” for next season. As a rookie, the Dayton product saw just 16 targets behind Jared Cook. But he caught 15 of them for 171 yards (11.4 YPC) and 1 score. Duncan fully expects the cash-strapped Saints to move on from the high-priced Cook, who’s coming off a down season. Trautman, meanwhile, makes sense as a fringe TE2 or TE3 target in early FFPC drafts.
The Athletic's Larry Holder believes there's a "strong likelihood" that QB Jameis Winston will be the Saints' starter in 2021. It's an opinion, rather than a report -- but noteworthy nonetheless from a long-time Saints beat writer. New Orleans opted to start QB Taysom Hill instead of Winston when QB Drew Brees missed time this past season. But Holder says the Saints love Winston's arm talent and football IQ and believe HC Sean Payton can "mold" Winston to fit the system. We're a bit skeptical that Hill won't get a shot in 2021 considering he's due to make nearly $11 million. Winston, meanwhile, is set to become a free agent in March, so we'll see how aggressive the Saints are in bringing him back.
Saints WR Michael Thomas will "likely" have surgery this offseason to repair a torn deltoid and other injured ligaments in his ankle, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Thomas hurt that ankle in Week 1, didn't return until Week 9 and played the rest of the way with pain medication, per Schefter. It's safe to say that Thomas was never at full strength after the opener. Assuming better health, he'll be a prime 2021 bounce-back candidate.
Saints QB Taysom Hill (knee) and RB Latavius Murray (quad) are inactive for tonight's game vs. the Bucs. QB Drew Brees and RB Alvin Kamara will pick up extra snaps.
Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) has been activated from IR. So he'll return for Sunday's game against the Bucs after missing the last 3. Smith figures to re-join Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 3-WR sets and has some appeal as a cheap DFS play.
The Saints are "not likely" to have RB Latavius Murray (quad) or QB Taysom Hill (knee) active for today's game against the Buccaneers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Those absences would boost the touch and scoring upside for RB Alvin Kamara, as well as the scoring upside for QB Drew Brees. Hill has often replaced Brees near the goal line in recent weeks. Kamara has posted lackluster yardage totals in each meeting with Tampa this year but also scored on the ground and caught 5 passes in each game.
Saints QB Taysom Hill (knee) returned to a limited practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for this weekend's game vs. the Bucs. The versatile Hill's absence would be a tangible blow to New Orleans' offense -- but boost the outlooks for QB Drew Brees and RB Alvin Kamara.
Saints RB Latavius Murray (quad) is questionable for Sunday's game vs. the Bucs after returning a limited practice on Friday. He's expected to be a game-time decision. We'll look for further updates but might not know Murray's status until a little after 6 pm ET on Sunday.
Saints RB Latavius Murray (quad) remained sidelined on Thursday. He's certainly in danger of missing Sunday's Divisional Round game vs. the Bucs, which would leave RB Alvin Kamara in a workhorse role. Check back Friday night for another update on Murray.
Saints QB Taysom Hill (knee) missed his 2nd straight practice on Thursday. He banged up a knee early in last weekend's win over the Bears but was able to return. We'll see what he does on Friday and how he's listed on the final injury report for Sunday's game vs. the Bucs.
Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) returned to practice on Wednesday. He's eligible to come off IR for this weekend's game vs. the Bucs, although it's still unclear if he'll be ready. We'll keep you updated.
Saints RB Latavius Murray (quad) did not practice on Wednesday. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that his status is "up in the air" for Sunday's Divisional Round game vs. the Bucs. Murray's absence would mean a significant boost in touches for RB Alvin Kamara.
Saints RB Latavius Murray suffered a quad injury late in the 3rd quarter of Sunday's win over the Bears and didn't play in the 4th. We'll see if he's able to play in this weekend's Divisional Round game vs. the Bucs. If not, RB Alvin Kamara will be in for a volume boost.
Saints RB Alvin Kamara and WR Michael Thomas are officially active for today's game against the Bears. Both were expected to be ready, but it's nice to get confirmation.
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