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Saints Receivers in Interesting Battle for Roster Spots

Patriots Edge Saints in Defensive Exhibtion Contest

The Saints must pick the most talented but reliable wide receivers for Drew Brees to rely on in 2012.The Saints must pick the most talented but reliable wide receivers for Drew Brees to rely on in 2012.

NEW ORLEANS -- One of the more intriguing position battles of training camp has developed at wide receiver where five players are vying for the final two to three spots.

The consensus top three are Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. Beyond that, the depth chart is a fluid situation. Courtney Roby, Joseph Morgan, Andy Tanner, Adrian Arrington and rookie Nick Toon are in the mix. That said, none of the aforementioned five receivers is a patch on Robert Meachem's derriere.

Of those five, Roby (9 receptions, a team-high 139 yards), Tanner (8-120) and Morgan (4-42) have all played relatively well in the first two exhibitions. All three also contribute on special teams in some form or fashion.

Arrington (knee) and Toon (foot) -- the two receivers who entered camp as the odds-on-favorites to win the fourth and fifth roster spots at WR -- have yet to play because of injuries.

Toon is expected to miss Friday night's home exhibition against the Jacksonville Jaguars, further jeopardizing his chances of making the final 53. Arrington, too, will sit this one out. The date of his return is unclear. He is seeking another opinion after conferring earlier this week with noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

At any rate, it appears Arrington is facing some type of surgery.

Saints acting head coach Joe Vitt weighed in Friday afternoon on Arrington's status.

"From all reports that we get ... he has to get some surgery,'' Vitt said. "You never like to see a person like Adrian go down. He's been a part of our program now for three years. He's done a good job for us. I can tell you personally that I'm pulling for him. From an organizational standpoint, we're pulling for him. He's put a lot of time off the field into being a good football player.

"Am I concerned? Sure, I'm concerned. In my heart, I kind of know what he knows and I know what he can do. So with a guy like this, there's just a little bit of leeway. He's got some pelts that he's given to us."

Keep in mind, owners are awaiting the NFL Players Association to ratify a new rule that would allow one player with a major injury from each team to be designated to a special list prior to the start of the regular season. Normally that player would be placed on season-ending injured reserve (IR). But under the new designation, he could return to the roster in eight weeks and to the practice field in six weeks and the team could carry the maximum 53 until the injured player returns.

Owners approved the rule change in May but the NFLPA has yet to sign off on it.

If I had to complete the depth chart today at WR, after Colston, Henderson and Moore, of the remaining healthy bodies on the roster, it would read Roby, Morgan and Tanner. Arrington was off to a good start and running fourth before his injury. Now, one wonders if he is facing season-ending surgery or a lesser procedure. Toon is the X-factor, a work in progress who needs to get back on the practice field and prove his value as a fourth-round draft pick.

Though still a longshot, Tanner is making a case for himself.

Without further adieu, here is the second installment of my 53-man roster as of Friday, Aug. 10.

OFFENSE (22 spots taken, 1 spot up for grabs at OL)

QBs: Drew Brees, Chase Daniel.

FB: Jed Collins.

RBs: Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory.

TEs: Jimmy Graham, David Thomas, Michael Higgins.

WRs: Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Courtney Roby, Joseph Morgan.

OL: T Jermon Bushrod, T Zach Strief, T Charles Brown, G Jahri Evans, G Ben Grubbs, C Brian De La Puente, C/G Matt Tennant.

NOTES: Other considerations -- WR Andy Tanner, WR Adrian Arrington (INJ), WR Nick Toon (INJ), RB Travaris Cadet, T Marcel Jones, FB Korey Hall. Team would look to upgrade the depth at TE, WR and OL. Rookie G Andrew Tiller is expected to undergo surgery to repair a torn triceps tendon and likely will be lost for the season.

SPECIALISTS (3, locked and loaded)

LS: Justin Drescher

P: Thomas Morstead

K: Garrett Hartley

DEFENSE (23 spots taken, four up for grabs ... two of remaining 4 spots would go to LB Jonathan Vilma and DE Will Smith who are facing suspensions for their roles in bounty gate ... a 10th DB spot and a LB spot are open)

DL: DE Cameron Jordan, DE Turk McBride, DE Junior Galette, DE Martez Wilson, DT Sedrick Ellis, DT Brodrick Bunkley, DT Remi Ayodele, DT Akiem Hicks, DE Will Smith*.

LBs: Curtis Lofton, Chris Claiborne, David Hawthorne, Scott Shanle, Jonathan Casillas, Will Herring, Jonathan Vilma*.

DBs: CB Jabari Greer, CB Patrick Robinson, CB Johnny Patrick, CB Marquis Johnson, CB Corey White, S Malcolm Jenkins, S Roman Harper, S Jonathon Amaya, S Isa Abdul-Quddus.

NOTES: Other considerations -- LB Ezra Butler, LB Ramon Humber, CB Elbert Mack, DT Tom Johnson.

* Facing suspensions for roles in Bounty scandal.

 

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