While there are some obvious picks, the omissions could be more interesting
This week, the NFL passed a rule that will allow more players to wear single digit numbers. Those who are familiar with LSU’s tradition of the team’s top player always wearing No. 7 will know what that means to some of players throughout the league.
It’s going to take some getting used to, but it’s likely we see a lot of players go back to their college numbers. This is a natural evolution. Keyshawn Johnson popularized wide receivers wearing jerseys in the teens when he joined the Jets in 1996. In 2004, the rule receivers had to wear numbers in the 80s officially changed and receivers could wear jerseys in the tens.
This opens things up further, as running backs, who historically have been in the 20s-40s, can now expand what numbers they wear. Defensive backs and linebackers can change as well (seeing linebackers in the 90s will be way more interesting than the 1-59 range). So, who on the New Orleans Saints is most likely to capitalize on this rule? First, let’s look at what numbers are taken.
No. 2: Jameis Winston
No. 3: Wil Lutz
No. 4: Blake Gilikin
No. 7: Taysom Hill
No. 9: Drew Brees
OK, so Brees isn’t actually on the roster anymore. But we all know no one is wearing No. 9 in black and gold again, so humor me.
So, which players are most likely to change?
Thomas takes a lot of pride in his Buckeye roots. The Ohio State alum still regularly talks about the school. The issue, of course, is that his college No. 3 is occupied by Lutz. It seems possible that Lutz and Thomas will reach some kind of agreement. Thomas can certainly afford it. It’s a shame Lutz can’t go back No. 96 like he wore at Georgia State, but with kickers and punters wearing Nos. 1-19, there are lots of other options.
Jameis Winston/Marshon Lattimore/Demario Davis
Why are these two related? Lattimore is another player with deep roots grounded at Ohio State, and there he wore No. 2. Winston likely isn’t horribly attached to the number — he’s only worn it for one season — but he could ostensibly go back to the No. 5 he wore in college with Florida State.
If Lattimore switches to a voided No. 2, that would clear the way for Demario Davis to go back to the No. 23 he wore at Arkansas State. While that is less likely, I really want to see a linebacker in the 20s.
I might rock that 1 this year ♂️ , #1 means the MOST ELECTRIFYING PLAYER ON THE FIELD
— Ceedy Duce. (@CGJXXIII) April 22, 2021
Kind of self-explanatory.
The one person who you won’t see on this list is Alvin Kamara. It’s hard to imagine Kamara reprising No. 6, which he wore at Tennessee, given that his time in Knoxville does not seem to resonate well with him.
In a 2018 piece for Sports Illustrated, Kamara called his time with the Volunteers “f—ed up.”
Tyrann Mathieu kind of hit the nail on the head with regards to the jersey change rule.
Them single digits gonna bring out the diva in them boys this year.
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) April 22, 2021
Thomas being a diva shouldn’t be news to anyone. Lattimore and Davis are slightly less likely, and Gardner-Johnson is a wild card.
Either way, there are bound to be a few changes with the new rule. So have the receipts for your jerseys ready.
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