The 2014 NFL season is now just about three months away, and there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered. NOLA.com went ahead and took a look at the projected starting line-up for the New Orleans Saints if the season were to begin today, May 27, 2014. A few spots still seem a bit sketchy, but many look solid and it's time to analyze what this year's Saints' starting line-up may look like.
A number of key offensive positions are locks, but some question marks remain. Let's analyze how all may look come September.
Drew Brees is going to start again, and that should come as no surprise. Luke McCown is expected to be the second-string quarterback, but he will face some heat from second-year pro Ryan Griffin and rookie Logan Kilgore.
Pierre Thomas is back for another season, and he will split time with Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. Travaris Cadet will likely find a spot on the team as a kick or punt returner.
Erik Lorig is expected to start at fullback.
Here is where things start getting interesting. Marques Colston is a lock at first wideout, and the speedy Kenny Stills moves up into the second spot in just his second year in the league. Behind them, rookie Brandin Cooks, who the Saints traded up to take in the draft, will be the third wide receiver.
Behind those three, it's a blessing of a mess of talent for the Saints. Veteran Robert Meachem will compete for a roster spot with Nick Toon, Joe Morgan, Andy Tanner, Brandon Coleman and others. My opinion is that Meachem and Toon will take the fourth and fifth WR spots with Morgan maybe getting a shot at punt returner.
This is a bit of a convoluted mess, and that is due to the whole Jimmy Graham situation. While he technically doesn't have a signed deal with the Saints due to the franchise tag situation; it is thought he will sign a deal and be in training camp come July.
Veteran tight end Benjamin Watson is a great alternative at starter, if needed, and perfect second end.
Second-year tackle Terron Armstead showed a lot to the Saints organization during his rookie year, and he proved himself by protecting Drew Brees diligently. He will start at left tackle while veteran Zach Strief starts at right tackle.
Ben Grubbs will start at left guard while Jahri Evans will start again at right guard. These veterans will shore up the center of the line and do a great job protecting Brees. Their leadership will be needed with a young center taking over.
Brian de le Puente filled the center position with the Saints for the past four years, but now he is with the Chicago Bears. Tim Lelito is expected to take all of the first team snaps, but the Saints could bring back veteran Jonathan Goodwin as insurance.
Please be sure to check out SaintsReport.com for more.