Saints: Cutdown analysis

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

Biggest surprise: Lynell Hamilton virtually forced the Saints to keep four running backs. A practice-squad player last year, Hamilton turned in an impressive preseason performance and beat out undrafted rookies P.J. Hill and Herb Donaldson. At 235 pounds, Hamilton could be a short-yardage specialist. He’ll be behind Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell on the depth chart. But Bush and Thomas each have histories of getting banged up so there’s a good chance Hamilton will get some playing time. Hamilton could even get some work at fullback because Heath Evans is the only one on the roster at that position.

No-brainer: A lot of people just assumed Paul Spicer would make the roster because he’s a 10-year veteran and the Saints will be without suspended defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant for the start of the season. But I remember watching Spicer in camp and thinking it didn’t look he had much left. Give the Saints credit for facing reality and not just relying on Spicer’s reputation. They might not be done at this position yet because they have only Bobby McCray, Anthony Hargrove and Jeff Charleston behind Smith and Grant.

What’s next: With Pro Bowler Drew Brees and veteran Mark Brunell, the Saints are in fine shape at quarterback. But they still need to do something at this position after releasing Joey Harrington. It might be something as simple as signing a young quarterback to the practice squad. The Saints don’t necessarily need to carry three quarterbacks on the regular season roster. But they need to have one more quarterback in the building to run the scout team and to be ready just in case of disaster.