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3 Saints Veterans Fighting for Their Jobs Following NFL Draft

Devon Platana
Three New Orleans Saints veterans fighting for their jobs following the 2021 NFL Draft.
Three New Orleans Saints veterans fighting for their jobs following the 2021 NFL Draft. / Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

When NFL icon Drew Brees retired at the end of the 2020 NFL season, the New Orleans Saints committed that they would try to continue being Super Bowl contenders. They added six prospects through the draft and have also been using free agency to fill out other holes.

Signal-callers Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston are set to duke it out for the No. 1 quarterback job, but there's no telling how that could go. The same could be said for other players on the Saints roster who are trying to prevent the fresh batch of younger players from stealing their jobs.

Keeping that in mind, here are three Saints veterans that could be fighting to keep their role after the NFL Draft.

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3. Taysom Hill, Quarterback

The 30-year-old Taysom Hill finally got to have his first start at quarterback last season when Brees went down with injuries. He looked decent most of the time, but his 14 sacks and 10 fumbles were a bit concerning. If Hill isn't able to win the top quarterback job out of training camp, his future with the Saints is in jeopardy. Despite signing a four-year, $140 million extension in the offseason, the contract is expected to be voided after this season. Considering how the Saints drafted Notre Dame QB Ian Book this year, they may not need the ageing Hill if he doesn't give them a reason to bring him back.

2. Tre'Quan Smith, Wide Receiver

A 2018 third-round pick, Tre'Quan Smith has yet to establish himself as a proper offensive threat. Even when he got an opportunity to shine when Michael Thomas missed nine games last season, Smith couldn't step up. He had 448 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns on 34 receptions last season, but he wasn't able to do enough to stand out. He'll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so needs to use the opportunity created by Emmanuel Sanders' departure to put himself in the spotlight. Otherwise, the Saints might not have an incentive to bring him back if he posts his third straight sub-500-yard season.

1. Marcus Davenport, Defensive End

Marcus Davenport impressed in his first two seasons, but he took a step back in 2020. He wound up starting in just one of the 11 games he played, recording 21 combined tackles and 1.5 sacks. Now, he has to deal with first-round pick Payton Turner eyeing his spot. What makes Davenport at risk of losing his job is the fact that he's set to have a $9.5 million cap hit next season. If he produces similarly as he did in 2020, he won't be worth that price, especially with the Saints doing everything they can to save money. Considering that Turner might give them better production on a cheaper deal, Davenport should do what he can to secure his spot.

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