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6 Saints rookies who need a big preseason debut vs. Texans

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We are finally to the point of the preseason where we are talking about a New Orleans Saints football game that happens in a couple of days. While this part is fun for the fans, it means increased pressure for those who have not yet established a roster spot. Players are a few weeks into training camp, preparing for the first preseason game knowing that the first round of cuts is fast approaching. Luckily for them, there are a few roles on the Saints roster that have some open battles. Here are six rookies who stand the most to gain from a good preseason debut against the Houston Texans:

RB Abram Smith

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The former Baylor Bear hasn’t had the best of starts to Saints training camp, so a big preseason debut could be the key to getting him back on course to a final roster spot. We know that Kamara and Ingram have spots on lock, but after that it’s a mystery. We don’t even know how many they plan to keep on roster, that will likely be determined by the play they see. Smith needs to make the most of his snaps as a running back, and will likely need to stand out on special teams to gain ground on a proven vet like Dwayne Washington.

WR Rashid Shaheed

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Shaheed was sidelined for the start of camp on the non-football injury list before joining back a few days ago, a big debut could make up for lost time in the eyes of coaches. There is potential for a fierce battle towards the bottom of the receiver depth chart with some many established names towards the top of the roster. Shaheed will need to make a name for himself fast to stick around.

TE Lucas Krull

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

If you were to ask most people what the weakest group on the Saints roster is this season, the answer would likely be tight end. Outside of Adam Trautman and Taysom Hill, there is no guaranteed name to make the roster at the position. Krull flashed talent during his college career, being named to the All-ACC second team. If Krull can prove to both be able to block and come down with the ball when targeted, he will quickly gain the support of the fanbase and hopefully the coaching staff.

DT Jordan Jackson

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Being a draft pick doesn’t guarantee a roster spot, but with how the Saints run their defensive line you can work your way from fighting to a roster spot to earning early play time. Every preseason snap is important for Jackson to decide what his role will be for his rookie season. He’s a great athlete who should benefit from a preseason setting.

LB Nephi Sewell

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It’s no secret that the Saints are unhappy with their current linebacker depth. They recently added 2022 fifth round draft pick D’Marco Jackson to the injured reserve and went through the Kiko Alonso signing/retiring debacle. Sewell could make their job easy by making a name for himself in the preseason and training camp. Sewell played at a high level in college, making the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team in 2021 and an honorable mention in 2020.

OT Trevor Penning

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Penning is fighting for something a little different than the rest of those on this list. There is no question about his roster spot, but he has seen a lot of negativity thrown his way in the court of public opinion. His training camp has been full of aggressiveness and fighting, to no surprise. Now, while not everyone is criticizing him for it, it has without a doubt ballooned to a point that it could become a distraction. A good debut could silence the doubters and give him some much needed positive light.

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