In 2016, the Saints drafted two defensive tackles: Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata. The injury to Nick Fairley has put that haul into complete focus this season. The expectations for Rankins are high but the development of Onyemata could be almost as important. He has the athleticism and versatility to be an effective defensive lineman. The question is, has he developed enough to step into a more prominent role?
The Saints sure hope so.
It seems so long ago that Kikaha played in 15 games as a rookie in 2015 and had a decent season. He finished with four sacks and four forced fumbles all while splitting time as defensive end and strongside linebacker. He is no longer splitting time; he’s a pass rusher. It’s no secret that the Saints’ biggest need is at pass rush. If Kikaha can remain healthy and return to his rookie form then perhaps he and newcomers Alex Okafor, Trey Hendrickson and Al-Quanin Muhammad can provide nice depth to go along with Cam Jordan.
The odds are not in his favor after three ACL tears but it has been done before.
Williams still remains an enigma after injuries robbed him of his first two seasons. Based on what I saw through last year’s training camp and the first regular season game, Williams has what it takes to be a productive starting cornerback in the NFL. He’ll be in the mix for starter once again this year.
If he can stay healthy, he could join Delvin Breaux, Sterling Moore and Marshon Lattimore as a talented and deep cornerback unit. Based on his track record, that’s a big ‘if.’
Thirty-two-year-old running backs don’t normally generate a ton of excitement. But Adrian Peterson is not a normal running back. He’s one of the best to ever put pads on. Still, he won’t be the featured back that he’s been his entire career. He’s also coming off a meniscus injury from a year ago. Plus, as we all know, Father Time has never lost. Peterson not only won’t be the offense’s main option; he also won’t be the main option out of the backfield. That still belongs to Mark Ingram. However, if healthy, Peterson can expect 130-150 carries this season. If he could surpass 600 yards with those carries, it could make a huge difference in the outcome of games.
Will he be the type of back that can still be productive when only getting 10-12 carries/touches a game? The Saints are banking on this being the perfect formula for him at this stage of his career.
We truly won’t know until the regular season begins.
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