We are inching closer to Saints training camp and the start of a new era in New Orleans under first-year head coach Dennis Allen. Here are three Saints to look out for as training camp will get underway with the rookies reporting in Metairie on July 19th and the veterans a week later:
Defensive End: Payton Turner
The 2021 first-round draft pick from the University of Houston is looking to have a bounce-back year after his 2021 campaign was plagued by injuries. Turner missed most of training camp and the regular season opener with calf and elbow injuries. He made his NFL debut in week two at Carolina where he recorded a sack, three tackles for loss, and five QB pressures. After the game at Carolina, Turner played a key role in the Saints’ deep edge rotation.
Unfortunately, Turner sustained a shoulder injury in week nine against the Atlanta Falcons. The injury sidelined Turner for the rest of his rookie career and he was only able to play five games during the 2021 season. In his last game against Atlanta, Turner tallied three tackles in 17 snaps. Alex Kay of Bleacher Report put together a list of every team’s breakout candidate and offered his analysis on Turner:
Turner’s upside on the edge is undeniably high despite a rather limited pass-rushing move-set. The 24-year-old displayed growth in that areas last year, and the Saints will want him to continue honing those skills this summer.
The Houston product has all of the physical traits to be an excellent defender capable of filling several roles at a high level. If Turner can stay healthy and expand his repertoire, he will be a nightmare for opposing offenses to deal with.
The 24-year-old product was cleared back in June for training camp. He will have to compete for snaps alongside Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Tanoh Kpassagnon and Carl Granderson. As long as Turner can stay healthy, he should be due for a breakout year in 2022.
Tight End: Adam Trautman
Trautman is expected to carry a lot of responsibility for the Saints’ offense as he will compete for the TE1 position during Saints training camp. Trautman was billed to be the face of the tight end room in 2021, but fell short of those expectations. In 2021, Trautman had 27 receptions for 263 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games played on the season. His best performance was against the Eagles, when Trautman compiled five receptions for 58 yards and a score. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine predicted every team’s 2022 breakout player and Trautman was listed for the Saints:
His best stretch came in the three games prior to the late-November MCL injury, when he had 14 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. That included a five-catch, 58-yard game against the Eagles. Four of those were contested grabs, and he earned a 90.4 receiving grade from PFF for that Week 11 tilt.
The Saints didn’t make any moves to upgrade the tight end group, so the competition will be between Trautman and Juwan Johnson. Trautman is in need of having a bigger impact on the Saints offense heading into the 2022 season.
Wide Receiver: Jarvis Landry
The LSU product returned home back in May when he signed a one-year contract to join the New Orleans Saints. Landry spent the past four seasons in Cleveland, earning two Pro Bowl nods. However, he played in just 12 games in 2021, earning career-lows with 52 catches for 570 yards and two touchdowns. The addition of Landry will help to solidify a wide receiver unit that has been having some question marks. Dennis Allen spoke on how beneficial of an addition Landry is to the Saints:
“He understands how to get open, and he also understands how to make plays with the ball in his hands once he’s got it. So, I think he was a really good addition for us and I’m anxious to really get going with him.”
Landry has put together three 1,000-yard plus receiving seasons in his career under the arms of Ryan Tannehill and Baker Mayfield. The 29-year-old will look to develop in one of New Orleans’ most reliable pass catchers in 2022.
The Landry signing is exactly what the Saints have been missing with Michael Thomas out of commission last year. Landry will look to team up with Michael Thomas and Chris Olave that will give the Saints a great wide receiver trio.
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