The New Orleans Saints will hold their cards close in their first preseason game. You won’t see too much unique play calling or top talent against the Texans. That being said, position battles for depth are happening right now. These preseason games will play a role in who fills out the bottom half of the roster, and rookies will get some playing time, too.
Who are the players to keep an eye on against the Texans?
Trevor Penning, Offensive Tackle
The rookie offensive tackle has made some headlines in training camp. He’s caused or been involved in multiple scuffles leading to ejections. That was always part of Penning’s projection. He plays with a lot of energy on the offensive line, but he has to contain it to avoid penalties.
Penning will probably get some reps early in tonight’s game. Hand placement and balance are a couple of factors to his game to watch. James Hurst projects to be the regular starter at the tackle spot opposite Ryan Ramczyk while he develops. This will be the first legitimate action for the offensive lineman that the Saints gave up a lot for in this year’s draft.
Juwan Johnson, Tight End
Johnson is a fun player for New Orleans, and they need to get him more involved this season. He took a step last season, but his athletic traits are really impressive. The former WR has made some amazing catches for the Saints.
He is now one of the four tight ends projected to make the Saints roster, but he has the most receiving upside. Keep an eye on Johnson tonight and going forward.
Abram Smith, Running Back
Smith is on the roster bubble as a rookie. He was an undrafted free agent signing that has stuck around so far. He is fighting for the RB3 spot behind Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.
Dwayne Washington and Devine Ozigbo have both had good camps so far, and two of these three will probably make the roster to start the year for the Saints. Smith will need to stand out in the preseason to make sure he is safe.