New Orleans Saints 2016 Training Camp Preview | Def Pen
The Drew Brees, Sean Payton combo will be back at it again for the New Orleans Saints (Photo: Chris Tilley, AP)

The New Orleans Saints were average in 2015 due to the 32nd ranked defense. Drew Brees could only do so much but as he enters a contract year it remains to be seen how New Orleans will fare in 2016. After a lackluster offseason what can we expect from the Saints in 2016?

3 Position Battles To Watch:

Wide Receiver: Brandon Coleman vs. Willie Snead

Michael Thomas was selected in the 2nd round and figures to start opposite of Brandin Cooks. Snead had the better year between him and Coleman falling just shy of 1,000 yards on the season. Both have their advantages as Coleman is 6’6″ creating a nice red zone option, while Snead is basically an undersized tight end.

Kicker: Kai Forbath vs. Connor Barth

Forbath finished the 2015 season with the Saints converting 9-13 field goals over 10 games. The Saints brought in some competition in veteran Connor Barth who has hit 84 percent of his field goals during his 7 year career. The better of the two during camp and the preseason will stick on the roster.

Safety: Vonn Bell vs. Jarius Byrd

Vonn Bell was taken in the 2nd round for a reason and it’s because Jarius Byrd is a shell of himself. Byrd essentially cannot be released due to his enormous contract but it will take some courage to sit him in favor of the rookie Bell.

Ready To Breakout: Delvin Breaux

Delvin Breaux came out of no where, literally. Breaux fractured vertebrae in his neck during high school and was never able to play at LSU where he was scheduled to play after. He then bounced around GDFL, the Arena league, and the Canadian football league. The Saints eventually gave the New Orleans native a chance and he did nothing but shine when given the opportunity. Breux was voted the best player on the Saints defense in his first year and could become one of the better corners in the league in year two.

Fantasy Sleeper: Coby Fleener

Fleener spent the past 4 years in Indianapolis splitting time with Dwayne Allen at tight end. Now it’s Fleener’s time to shine. Drew Brees made the ancient Ben Watson look like a difference maker last year, expect the same from the much younger Fleener.

Rookie To Watch: Michael Thomas

Thomas is from Ohio State and is the nephew of former great Keyshawn Johnson. Thomas reminded me of Anquan Boldin and could figure to be a nice possession receiver in the Sean Payton offense.

The key to the Saints turnaround will come on the defensive side of the ball. The ball in your hands Dennis Allen!


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