Originally posted on The Saints Nation  |  Last updated 5/22/13
There's a number of starting spots that I feel are up for grabs right now as OTAs are under way and there's a number of battles I'm incredibly intrigued by. The scheme switch to a 3-4 will create an enormous amount of competition, as will some changes on the offense with the departure of Devery Henderson and Jermon Bushrod. Here's positions that I'm going to be playing close attention to throughout, and you should too: Backup Quarterback: We've been over this, it's Luke McCown, Seneca Wallace and Ryan Griffin. I view none as awesome, or even good necessarily, but I view them all as capable. I really view that competition as wide open and whoever performs the best will get the job. I truly believe all three of those guys have an equal shot at the job, and I think they should be happy about the opportunity because Chase Daniel has had that role on lockdown for years until now. Defensive End: With Will Smith moving to linebacker I now think Akiem Hicks is thrust right into a starting role. It's his spot to lose. The Saints could also move Bodrick Bunkley to end at times and bring in John Jenkins at nose, so there's some interesting possibilities there. You figure Cam Jordan has one spot on lockdown, though, so I view Jay Richardson and Kenyon Coleman as the primary threats to Akiem Hicks being the starter. It's surprising how fast Hicks has grown in just one year and I have to admit I'd be really excited about the potential of having him as a full time starter as soon as week 1 of the regular season. The Fourth Receiver: Colston, Moore and Morgan are the top 3, period. Nothing is given after that. You've got Nick Toon, Kenny Stills and maybe Andy Tanner as the favorites, and then a slew of no name guys that will be looking to make their mark. I view this crop of receivers as the weakest in terms of depth that the Saints have had in years. They need someone to step up out of the shadows like Moore did years ago. I'm not even totally sold on Morgan who is still raw, so I'd love to see someone emerge as a really promising player and fourth option. Whether that's Stills in year one or Toon in year two, someone has to produce for this offense to continue to be as efficient as possible. Safety: You might think it's Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, and Kenny Vaccaro as three guys battling for two spots, but I urge you to not sleep on Isa Abdul-Quddus who I am a huge fan of. In fact, I think the opening day starters should be IAQ and Vaccaro. Don't sleep on Rafael Bush, either, who I also like a lot. This is all of a sudden on of the team's deepest position and will make for one of the best camp battles. Left Tackle: Charles Brown, Jason Smith and Terron Armstead are three guys with some talent, but I don't view any of these guys as ready to take over and do as good of a job as Jermon Bushrod did. There's also a risk they could all three not even qualify as "passable". At least there's three of them to compete, but left tackle is a pretty unsettling situation at the moment. We have to hope one of the three emerges as a performing player. Outside Linebacker: With Will Smith added to the mix all of a sudden, that puts more pressure on Junior Galette, Martez Wilson and Victor Butler to perform. How are the Saints going to get all of these explosive, young and promising pass rushers on the field? That's not even mentioning vets like Will Herring, Ramon Humber (who may be ILB), or youngsters like Chase Thomas and Rufus Johnson. The Saints have a ton of bodies at this position and lots of undeveloped talent. Inside Linebacker: Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne and Jonathan Vilma for two starting spots is no joke. Those guys are all three going to bring it. Chris Chamberlain is a capable backup, too. Lastly, you've also got promise in undrafted rookie Kevin Reddick.
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