In tonight's preseason finale, TE Billy Miller has suffered an apparently serious lower right leg injury. The seriousness of the injury is yet to be disclosed but the initial prognosis is somber.
With little depth behind Jeremy Shockey , Miller's loss could be impactful to the final depth chart. Buck Ortega remains the only tight end to have stood healthy all preseason, but he's an inexperienced, unremarkable tight end. Miller, a former receiver and an excellent pass catcher as a pro, is a perfect fit for the Saints' offense.
The Saints have already lost Dan Campbell for the season and Darnell Dinkins was held out of tonight's game. Should Dinkins be unable to play in the opener, the Saints will have to sign another tight end before week one of the regular season. Most NFL teams use three or four tight ends in a game, and right now the Saints have only two.
Undrafted rookie Jeremy Parnell, who has been moved from defensive line to tight end to offensive line, is unlikely to make an impact at either position but has been the only other man to play the position in training camp. Parnell, now listed as an offensive tackle, did not play Thursday night and has practice squad written all over him.
UPDATE: Martrez Milner, who was picked up as a street free agent, has the most chance to benefit from the unfortunate injury to Miller. He hasn't done much in preseason though and might end up exactly where he started training camp: a free agent.
So, count on the Saints looking hard at Dinkins' ankle injury and at the waiver wire and possibly carry four tight ends, including Dinkins, at the expense of a spare at another position.