We will be reviewing the Saints roster as it currently stands leading to free agency and the draft. Last week we looked at the Wide Recievers. Today it’s the Saints Tight Ends.
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A look at the Saints tight end position starts and ends with Fleener. Much was made when Fleener signed a huge contract with the Saints last off season. The tight end position has been a key cog in Sean Payton’s offense throughout his tenure in New Orleans.
Many think it’s a plug and play type position after seeing the success of Jimmy Graham and Ben Watson. Did the Saints overpay for Fleener? Definitely. Did his stats match his salary?
No. That doesn’t mean it was poor season for Fleener.
A look at the positives showed that he played in all 16 games. So he durable. His 50 catches for 631 yards with three touchdown catches are all very close to his five year average in the league.
Fleener had some drops through the season that didn’t endear his to fans and certainly the emergence of Mike Thomas, Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead allow the Saints not to have a such reliance on Fleener and the tight end position.
Without the big contract hanging over his head many fans would be satisfied with Fleener’s production last season. He’ll never live up to the contract, but that doesn’t mean we can’t expect solid production from him in 2017.
The four year veteran was on pace for his best overall season as a Saint. He was injured Week 1 with an ankle injury, returned to play nine games before a broken fibula put him on injured reserve for the season.
He’s a versatile tight end who may never match his five touchdowns in 2014 that led many Saints fans into thinking he was on the cusp of stardom. If his four year career is any indication, we’ve seen just about all there is to see from Hill.
John Phillips-Free Agent
Phillips was acquired from Denver ironically the week before the Saints played Denver. With injuries mounting, the veteran Phillips provided depth at the tight end position for the rest of the season. Not much of a pass catcher, Phillips played well in the final eight games for the Saints and is currently a free agent.
Much was expected from the Hoo-man in 2016. He’s a great blocking tight end allowing the Saints to run different three tight end looks since acquired in a trade from New England.
Unfortunately, the 2016 season was over before it started as a high ankle sprain that included ligament damage in the final pre season game shelved him for the season. He’s currently on track to return which should help both the offense and special teams play.
I always tend to notice players who don’t play much in training camp or preseason due to injury, and yet they still make the practice squad or the team. Much like Wide Receiver Jake Lampman, that’s exactly what Griffin did.
The Air Force Academy graduate, also is able to long snap which adds to his resume, especially with current Saints long snapper Justin Drescher a free agent.
An early season practice square signee, the former Buckeye was signed to a reserve/futures contract after the season. He didn’t see any action in 2016 with the Saints however has eleven games under his belt in 2015 with the Dolphins.