METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints' 53-man roster is set -- for now, anyway.
Head coach Sean Payton stressed last week that the Saints will take a hard look at the roster cuts around the NFL. And you have to think they'll be in the market for some offensive line help, especially since they kept only seven O-linemen.
Here is a breakdown of the Saints’ 53-man roster as it stands after Saturday’s cuts:
Grayson is safe for now. But the bigger danger for the 2015 third-round draft pick is that New Orleans might decide to move on to a new developmental project in next year’s draft. Next summer will be huge for his long-term future.
This is a deep, versatile position for the Saints, which made Travaris Cadet expendable. For fantasy purposes, Ingram is still a true No. 1, every-down back. Spiller will serve as a change-of-pace option, and Hightower should be the “handcuff” as Ingram’s backup. Murphy’s outlook seemed dire two weeks ago when Payton called him out over his fumbling issues, but the second-year pro finished strong in the preseason finale and will probably start the season as the primary kick returner.
FULLBACK (1): John Kuhn
Why wasn’t this guy on a roster a month ago? The Saints signed the longtime Green Bay Packers standout as an injury replacement during training camp, and he immediately started delivering for them as a blocker and short-yardage runner. That made former Saints starter Austin Johnson expendable when he returned from injury.
Like Murphy, Coleman helped save his job with a strong finish to the preseason. Lewis, meanwhile, was one of the breakout players of camp as a dynamic undrafted rookie. It will be interesting to see which guy winds up serving as their No. 4 receiver on game days. The top three is set -- and probably the only three Saints receivers who need to be considered for fantasy purposes right now.
Fleener admitted recently he is still adjusting to his new playbook in New Orleans. The Saints will be counting on him and Hill even more now that they lost their best blocking tight end -- veteran Michael Hoomanawanui -- to a season-ending leg injury. Manhertz is a neat story. He is a former Canisius College basketball player who never played football until he signed with the Buffalo Bills in December 2014.
The Saints typically keep eight offensive linemen. And their only backup tackle right now is Peat -- who is projected to start at left guard. So they will probably add to this position at some point. Turner was a first-team All-American at North Carolina who signed as an undrafted free agent this year. He didn’t stand out right away in training camp but earned his spot with solid performances in the preseason games.
The Saints didn’t have any huge surprises among their roster cuts, but some of the mild ones were here on the D-line, where they released veterans Darryl Tapp and C.J. Wilson and young pass-rushers Chris McCain and Davis Tull. Keeping Mabry was a bit of a surprise, but the Saints may have wanted his bulk in the middle while Rankins remains out with a broken fibula.
Exactly as predicted. This is a solid group that became much deeper in free agency this year. Robertson could play a key role as the fourth linebacker and one of the team’s best in pass coverage.
I wrote last week that one of the most difficult positions to project was cornerback, between Finnegan, Brian Dixon and Damian Swann. The Saints decided to stick with the physical, experienced Finnegan -- which is probably a smart move in an otherwise-young position group. Swann wound up on injured reserve with a minor ailment, and Dixon was released despite serving as the Saints’ top gunner on special teams the last two seasons. Rookie RB Lasco will probably take over that role.
As I wrote Saturday, the Saints’ most stunning move was probably sticking with the same kicker two years in a row (they’ve gone through 10 in the past 10 years). But Forbath earned his spot in a tight battle against Connor Barth, thanks to a solid 2015 performance and a solid summer.