Position battles, who's in and out: What you can expect to see when Saints face Patriots _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints WR Josh Morgan

POSITION: Wide receiver

Years in the NFL: 7

Acquired: Free agent signing

College: Virginia Tech

Highlights: Caught 52 passes for 527 yards with the San Francisco 49ers in 2009 and 44 passes for 698 yards the next season. ... Signed by the Washington Redskins in 2012 and hauled in 48 passes for 510 yards during that first season, then his production tailed off to 20 catches with the Redskins quarterbacks in flux the next season. ... Caught 10 passes for 70 yards with the Chicago Bears last year. ... Also has 27 kick returns and eight punt returns in his career.

Strengths: Morgan is excellent at finding the zone and getting open over the middle, a skill that’s key in the Saints offense, which asks receivers to make decisions on the fly to find holes in zones. The same ability makes him a good target in the red zone, where receivers have to feel gaps in a congested area. ... He also has strong hands, allowing him to make catches in traffic, and runs with power after the catch. A former return man, Morgan also has solid open-field running ability, and his combination of vision and power make him a good target on screens.

Must continue to: Build chemistry with Drew Brees. The variability in the Saints offense is all dependent on Brees — what he sees and wants is what gets receivers on the field. Morgan’s off to a good start, as evidenced by the two touchdown passes he caught in the red zone against the Patriots during Wednesday’s practice. Morgan also has to prove he can leverage his strength to be a great blocker; the Saints almost always keep at least one receiver on the roster who’s an excellent blocker in the open field.

Projection: Morgan is firmly in the mix for one of the final two receiver spots, and at the moment, he looks like a favorite to land one of them. Ever since the Saints’ preseason opener against Baltimore, Morgan has worked with the first team, a trend that continued in practices against New England. If Morgan can maintain that position, he could force the Saints to keep six wide receivers or push a player like Nick Toon or Seantavius Jones off of the 53-man roster.

Joel A. Erickson

Injury report

OUT: S Jairus Byrd, CB Brandon Browner, CB Keenan Lewis, S Kenny Vaccaro, DE Akiem Hicks, LB Dannell Ellerbe, DE Anthony Spencer, OLB Ronald Powell, WR Lance Lewis, G Cyril Lemon

LIMITED: CB Delvin Breaux, LB Davis Tull, S Jamarca Sanford

Next three up

FRIday: Saints break camp in West Virginia, travel back to New Orleans.

Saturday: New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints, 6:30 p.m. CT, Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Sunday: Practice at Saints facility in Metairie, 4 p.m.-5:50 p.m. CT