The New Orleans Saints brought back veteran quarterback Drew Brees and are gearing up for another season in which they are expected to be both NFC South and Super Bowl contenders. They made a few smart key moves in free agency to go along with what looks to be a strong crop of draft picks that addressed areas of need.
After multiple recent heart-breaking playoff exits, the pressure is on this Saints team to perform down the stretch of this season. Players will have shorter leashes, so they will need to be sharp. With that in mind, these are the three Saints players most in danger of losing their starting job at some point this season.
1. Janoris Jenkins, CB
Janoris Jenkins came over at the end of last season, after being cut by the New York Giants. Whether it's a lack of effort or simply getting out-played, Jenkins has not been great in recent seasons. However, he is currently penciled in as one of the Saints' starters. If he continues to take plays off, he will not last long in a division that faces Matt Ryan and now Tom Brady twice each.
2. Jared Cook, TE
Jared Cook is no spring chicken, headed into his 12th NFL season. He had moments of both good and bad last year, which was his first year with the Saints. With no other reliable tight end or secondary receiving weapon after Michael Thomas, his job was a lot safer last year. However, the Saints also drafted the athletic Adam Trautman in the third round, and he can do a lot of the same things that Cook is supposed to. The pressure is on for Cook to stay on the field, with the rookie likely to be nipping at his heels. Not to mention Taysom Hill's versatility as an option at tight end in select sets as well.
3. Tre'Quan Smith, WR
The third-year wide receiver started six games for the Saints last season and while Emmanuel Sanders will now almost certainly get the nod at WR2 ahead of Smith, he is expected to start as WR3 when New Orleans employs three-wide sets. However, the Saints may opt to keep Smith off the field to start games, giving that starting spot to a second tight end or whatever role Taysom Hill is playing at that point. This is because Smith has not broken out in the way that many expected the former third-round pick to do. Last season was even more disappointing than his rookie year, averaging just 21.3 receiving yards per game.
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