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Saints-Jaguars

Just another meaningless exhibition

So, the Saints and Jaguars played last night. Anything happen in that one that might have relevance to people's fantasy drafts coming up? Maybe one or two developments.

Travis Etienne. Unfortunately, the biggest development is one of the exact reasons more and more coaches are keeping starters out of these games. Travis Etienne left after three plays with a foot injury. It's being called a mid-foot sprain and the dreaded Lisfranc injury. In a general sense, James Robinson can now be fairly comfortably drafted as a starting running back (I'm guessing 17th-20th area) and Etienne can be moved down draft boards to the area where there's zero chance of him being on your team. Not to be too aggressive here. Rookie running backs of uncertain NFL fit with a serious foot injury -- no thank you.

Marquez Callaway. Feel free to ignore the stats of 5 catches for 104 yards and 2 TDs. No problem. But let's look at the actual touchdowns. One was a diving grab in the end zone with two defenders draped on him, one of whom was ripping his right arm out of the socket, drawing an interference flag. The other was just your average everyday one-handed over-the-shoulder catch in the corner of the end zone, also with fairly tight coverage. Callaway is this team's No. 1 wideout until Michael Thomas makes it back onto the field. He might be the 1A even when Thomas does. I've seen people talking about him as a 7th-8th round pick. If you want him on your team, you're probably going to have to draft him earlier than that.

Jameis Winston. Nobody has been able to promise who will be the starting quarterback here. With Taysom Hill, he's got the argument of being in the offense longest and starting over Winston when Drew Brees was hurt last year. So he's got on that on his side of the ledger. On the other hand, he's 31 years old and if any other team thought he was a starting NFL quarterback they'd have pried him away from the Saints by now. Hill can't make the throws Winston made last night. He isn't going to open as the starting quarterback here. His role will probably be similar to what it was when Brees was the quarterback (and since Winston has more scrambling ability than Brees, it might be even less). I think Winston should be ranked around 12th-13th at quarterback. Maybe a little more risk than others in that area, but a little more upside, too.

Adam Trautman. The Saints' presumed starting tight end also left last night's game with a foot injury. X-Rays were negative, but that only means his foot isn't broken; there could be a sprain of some kind. There's been precious little in the way of positive news about Trautman this preseason anyway; Juwan Johnson is drawing more ink. Although they're different kinds of players; Johnson (a former wide receiver) is 6-4 and just 231 pounds, and looks like a big wide receiver; they're not going to plug him into a full-time role. If Trautman misses time it's gonna be Nick Vannett handing the blocking and maybe seeing a few short flips around the goal line, with Johnson in a receiving role. I think Johnson makes some sense in later rounds, but nobody should be drafting him thinking they're getting a full-time tight end. Glancing at our latest rankings I'm thinking he's around 20th, and even that might be generous. (But the tight ends in that area all look unreliable.)

Trevor Lawrence. His first few drives were unproductive and ended in punts, but his last two were more successful -- a field goal, and then a missed field goal. I'm concerned about his offensive line, and losing Etienne will affect some things the team wants to do. But he himself looks like the real deal to me, big and mobile and decisive out there. Marvin Jones is going to be a nice veteran target for him, and Laviska Shenault can play (and should benefit from the removal of Etienne from the offense). DJ Chark will be back, supposedly for Week 1, which will change things, but I'm thinking this passing game is going to have some good games, and Lawrence will also run a little. Plus Jacksonville's defense needs some work so he'll be throwing plenty.

We say it a lot: exhibition stats don't matter, but performances do. A lot of meaningful performances in last night's game. It's unfortunate that some of them ended with players limping off the field.

--Andy Richardson

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