Two years after signing with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent, Ashaad Mabry is looking to finally make his way onto the Saints active roster in 2017.
The Saints reaffirmed their commitment to Mabry in January, signing him to a futures deal and keeping him in New Orleans for a third year, after two successful campaigns spent on the practice squad.
- Team: New Orleans Saints
- Position: Defensive Tackle
- Experience: 2 years on practice squad
The Saints defensive line took a huge hit over the offseason when starting tackle Nick Fairley was diagnosed with a heart condition that will keep him out this season, and potentially end his career.
Meanwhile, New Orleans looked to free agency for some added depth, signing 11-year veteran Tony McDaniel, a former starter in Seattle.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS DEFENSIVE TACKLE DEPTH
- Sheldon Rankins, 1 year experience
- Tyeler Davison, 2 years experience
- David Onyemata, 1 year experience
- Tony McDaniel, 11 years experience
- Ashaad Mabry, 2 years practice squad experience
- Justin Zimmer, 1 year practice squad experience
- Devaroe Lawrence, Rookie (Undrafted) (injured)
Sheldon Rankins should be a shoo-in as a starter in his second season after being drafted 12th overall a season ago. He missed the first half of his rookie year with a broken leg, but upon his return proved why he was worth a 1st-round draft pick.
Preliminary depth charts have Davison as the other starter, but reports out of training camp have Onyemata taking more of the first-team reps. The pair seem to be 2A and 2B in the pecking order for the time being.
With only four defensive tackles likely making the 53-man roster, that leaves one spot left that Mabry will be fighting for. It will take an inspired preseason performance for either Mabry or Zimmer to beat out the veteran McDaniel, so the practice squad will be his most likely landing spot once again.
Odds to make 53-man roster: 10%
Odds to make practice squad: 80%
Mabry and the Saints will be in action tonight against Cleveland, followed by a nationally televised game as they visit the new-look Los Angeles Chargers and their 27,000-seat MLS stadium.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PRESEASON SCHEDULE
(all times Central)
Thursday, Aug. 10
New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Aug. 11, 9:00 a.m.
Sunday, Aug. 20
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers, 7 p.m. (NFL Network)
Saturday, Aug. 26
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Sunday, Aug. 27, 4:00 a.m.
Thursday, Aug. 31
Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Sep. 2, 9:00 a.m.