New Orleans Saints lose TE Nick Vannett for weeks, source says; injuries piling up as season nears

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints could be a little thin at tight end, cornerback and defensive tackle heading into Week 1 after suffering injuries to key players in Monday night's preseason win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tight ends Adam Trautman and Nick Vannett and cornerback Ken Crawley could all be back within a matter of weeks, but cornerback Brian Poole and defensive tackle Jalen Dalton were placed on injured reserve and won't be eligible to return this season.

The best news for New Orleans is that Trautman's foot injury is believed to be minor, a source told ESPN, after the promising 2020 third-round draft pick was driven to the locker room on a cart during the first quarter of Monday's game. Trautman will see a specialist for a further prognosis.

Vannett also avoided a major knee injury but is expected to miss two to four weeks, a source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. That means New Orleans could rely even more heavily in the early going on second-year tight end Juwan Johnson -- a converted wide receiver who has been having a stellar camp.

The Saints could look to add some depth from players cut by other teams since tight end was one of several positions thinned out by their salary-cap purge this offseason, including moving on from Jared Cook and Josh Hill.

Cornerback, meanwhile, was already one of the Saints' biggest concerns after they released veteran starter Janoris Jenkins in the offseason and lost veteran Patrick Robinson to an unexpected retirement early in training camp. Crawley was on track to be the Saints' Week 1 starter on the outside, opposite Pro Bowler Marshon Lattimore, which could still be the case if Crawley returns in time.

Poole won't be back, however, after he left Monday's game early with an unspecified injury. The Saints signed Poole before training camp to give them added depth as an inside nickel cornerback.

Dalton had a great chance of emerging as a starting defensive tackle for the Saints with David Onyemata scheduled to miss the first six weeks of the season due to suspension. Dalton had a sack and a batted pass Monday night to continue his stellar training camp, but he suffered a fully torn triceps after a partially torn triceps derailed his chances of making New Orleans' roster last summer.

Defensive tackle will be another top priority on the waiver wire for the Saints since they also lost veteran starters Malcolm Brown and Sheldon Rankins this offseason.