The Saints training camp previews continue, as the first fan experience is only a week away. Next Friday will be one of seven open practices anyone can attend, assuming you’ve booked a ticket to the event. There will be another Saturday, then you will have to wait until August 5, but you will have three consecutive days to watch the New Orleans practice.
Today’s camp is focused on the defensive ends, who are a great force for the new season.
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Saints Defensive End Depth Chart
- Cam Jordan
- Marcus Davenport
- Payton Turner
- Tanoh Kpassagnon
- Carl Granderson
- Noah Spence
- Christian Ringo
The big guns
The Saints had 45 sacks in 2020 (4th in the NFL) and 13.5 from Trey Hendrickson. He moved on to the Bengals, cashing in a big free agent contract. So now New Orleans will need their duo of Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport to produce in a big way.
Jordan is not far from his year of career in 2019, finishing with 15.5 sacks. He has 94.5 overall with the Saints and leads Rickey Jackson (115) by 20.5. While Pro Football Reference did a great job capturing layoff dates prior to 1982, the league has no plans to use that data. Last season was a bit of a disappointment in the bag business, and Jordan will be the first to tell you. Expect that to change in 2021.
As for Davenport, he’s the big unknown. It was the first time he had been able to participate in an off-season training schedule, and he revealed at the end of April that a lot of different things had affected him in his first few seasons. The Saints believe in him and in his abilities, so much so that they chose his option of fifth year. Needless to say, this is his most important season.
Carl Granderson has had some entertaining workout videos this offseason and looks like someone who could take a big step this year. The Saints also came out and signed Tanoh Kpassagnon in free agency, and brought back Noah Spence, who was sidelined last season due to a torn ACL.
New Orleans also brought Christian Ringo back on a reserve / future deal. Ringo joined the squad in early November via the practice squad and would be there until his release in early January. Just a week later he was re-signed on a reserve / future contract.
Granderson and Kpassagnon both appear to be key depths to support Davenport and Jordan, but they will be challenged.
The Saints shocked many when they took Houston’s Payton Turner in 28th overall in the draft. There’s a lot of intrigue in him, and he’s the one we can’t wait to see on the pitch. He has opened up about his style of play, saying he enjoys being a violent presence on the rim and transforms into a different guy on the pitch, whether it’s a practice or an actual game.
New Orleans was a different animal chasing the ferryman, and that’s no mistake. Ryan Nielsen did a great job with the squad, and the Packers nearly pulled him out, but the Saints did what was right for him and added assistant head coach duties to his responsibilities on the defensive line. . Nielsen should be able to harness Turner’s abilities and help make him a star.