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A Couple of Award Winning Saints Looking for Even More in 2018

With 17 days left before the first practice of training camp, Alvin Kamara said he feels like the offseason has dragged on too long, and Marshon Lattimore feels like the Saints were just laying it on the line in Minnesota, Joel Erickson of the Advocate reports.

But both players have the same thing in mind for their second season in the NFL. Kamara and Lattmore, who were out at Tad Gormley Stadium on Monday to coach the 150 kids who showed up for Kamara’s Rookie of the Year camp, said they can take things to the next level.

“We talk about it all the time, we’re just trying to be the best,” Lattimore said. “We won rookie of the year, now we’re trying to win Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year.”

Kamara was front and center Monday, holding his second camp of the summer; he also held a camp earlier this summer in Tennessee. For those who have been paying attention, Kamara said he feels like he has been everywhere this offseason, the NFL’s breakout star both on the field and off after producing 728 rushing yards, 826 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns.

For all of the fun he’s had, though, Kamara is missing the football field.

“Everybody talks about how long the season is, but the offseason is long. I’m ready to get back with all my teammates and get back to practice and get back to work.”

Preparing for the NFL draft is nothing like preparing for the rigors of an NFL season, and rookies are left trying to get back into football shape in the summer after a spring spent training to be track stars.

“When you’re training for the combine, you’re really training for the 40,” Lattimore said. “Now, I can focus on my game and my technique. I’m trying to be better than I was last year.”

“That process, the draft-combine-pro day, it’s a tiring process,” Kamara said. “It’s hard, coming from college, transitioning from being an amateur to a pro. It’s hard, there’s some growing pains. I was learning as I go, but now I have some experience, I know how to manage my time.”

Lattimore, for his part, wants to raise his profile to the level of his teammate, who has a distinct advantage because of his position. Lattimore may have picked off five passes, broken up 18 more and shut down some of the NFL’s best receivers, but to raise his visibility, he knows he has to do even more.

“Alvin’s the superstar,” Lattimore said. “They love the offense. … nobody cares about defense. … I’m trying to get on AK’s level.”

Lattimore joked that he might have to become as colorful as Deion Sanders to get there, raise his profile with a little extra personality on the field.

Whatever the Saints two young stars do, though, the arrow is only pointing up if they can somehow be even better than they were as rookies.

Could Adrian Peterson Find His Way Back to the Saints in 2018?

Things with the Saints and the running back spot have been up in the air since it was announced that Mark Ingram would serve a four-game suspension to start 2018.

The team still needs a veteran to help out Alvin Kamara, and one player that could find his way back to the team is that of Adrian Peterson, a player who might come in handy to the team this upcoming season.

After Mark Ingram was suspended for four games earlier this week, we heard that the Saints wouldn’t be pursuing a veteran running back. However, if the organization has a change of heart, they could focus in on a former member of the team. Head coach Sean Payton told reporters (including ESPN’s Mike Triplett) that the Saints would “absolutely” consider signing running back Adrian Peterson if they decided to pursue a veteran player.

“This gets back to the notion that we had some type of any argument (during Week 1) at Minnesota, which I still say there was none,” Payton said. “I think a ton of him.”

Peterson’s stint in New Orleans was short-lived, as the veteran found himself behind Ingram and Alvin Kamara on the depth chart. The 33-year-old ultimately appeared in four games for the Saints, compiling 81 rushing yards on 27 carries. He looked better during his time with the Cardinals, where he finished with 448 yards and two scores on 129 carries. While the future Hall of Famer is getting up there in age, there could still be something left in the tank. After all, Peterson did collect nearly 1,500 rushing yards only two seasons ago (on the flip side, he’s also suffered a torn meniscus since that time).

Drew Brees or Alvin Kamara? Who Does the Burden Fall on With Mark Ingram Suspended

How much of the focus will be on Alvin Kamara or is it on Drew Brees in 2018 with running back Mark Ingram starting the season on the NFL’s Suspension List?

Saints Waive LB Sae Tautu and Ink DT Taylor Stallworth

The Saints waived linebacker Sae Tautu and signed defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth, an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina, on Tuesday, Amos Morale of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

The Saints signed former Brigham Young linebacker Sae Tautu as an undrafted free agent last season but placed him on injured reserve following an MCL injury before releasing him prior to the start of the 2017 season.

New Orleans brought back the 6-foot-3, 245-pound linebacker on a reserve/futures deal in January before cutting him Tuesday.

Stallworth agreed to join the Saints after the 2018 draft, and his signing was made official Tuesday. The 6-foot-2, 305-pound defensive lineman started all 13 games his senior season with the Gamecocks.

Saints Ink QB J.T. Barrett to a Three-Year Contract

The Saints added another former Ohio State football player to their roster, as the team inked QB J.T. Barrett to a three-year deal, Christopher Dabe of the New Orleans Times-Picyaune reports.
NFL Network first reported Tuesday (May 1) that Barrett had inked the deal with the team, putting him on the roster with Drew Brees and backups Taysom Hill and Tom Savage.

In three-plus seasons as a starter, Barrett threw for 9,434 yards and had 104 touchdowns compared to 30 interceptions. He also ran for 3,263 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Saints Earn an ‘C+’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got an average grade is that of the Saints, who according to Kiper got an ‘C+’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

The Saints had one of the best immediate-return draft classes of the last 10 years this past season. Marshon Lattimore. Ryan Ramczyk. Marcus Williams. Alvin Kamara. Alex Anzalone. I mean … are you kidding? Add that much talent in one shot, then factor in a 39-year-old quarterback, and you figure you might be willing to take a risk or two.

Well, I get it. They have a big need, and they’re going for it. I also have to grade these in a vacuum, and by that measure this class is a big question mark. The Saints gave up a whopper of a package — next year’s first-round pick and a 2018 fifth-rounder — to move up to take Marcus Davenport, a pass-rusher out of Texas-San Antonio. The kid’s got upside, but that’s serious value. This after they were already down a second-rounder in this draft due to a previous trade. Tre’Quan Smith (pick 91) was a decent value at a need position — can Ted Ginn Jr. play forever? — and Rick Leonard (127) is an interesting bet at tackle. Kamrin Moore (189) has the chance to stick in this secondary, though it’s not nearly as thin back there as it was a couple years ago.

The Saints are a Super Bowl contender. It’s clear they feel added pass-rush help could be a difference-maker in that pursuit. If Drew Brees gets another Lombardi, it’ll all be worth it. If not, they gave up a lot.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/14 Marcus Davenport DE UT SAN ANTONIO
3/91 Tre’Quan Smith WR UCF
4/127 Rick Leonard OT FLORIDA STATE
5/164 Natrell Jamerson S WISCONSIN
6/189 Kamrin Moore CB BOSTON COLLEGE
6/201 Boston Scott RB LOUISIANA TECH
7/245 Will Clapp G LSU

After Moving Up; Saints Draft UTSA DE Marcus Davenport in Round One of the NFL Draft

The Saints got the guy they wanted with the 14th pick of Thursday’s NFL Draft, as the team picked up UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport after moving up in the draft.

The Saints traded their first-round pick this year (No. 27), a fifth-rounder (No. 147) and their first-round pick in 2019 to the Green Bay Packers to land Davenport, a former Texas-San Antonio star who figures to bolster New Orleans’ pass rush.

The Saints have a long history of moving up in the first round to draft a player they covet. This marks the sixth time they’ve done it in general manager Mickey Loomis’ tenure, dating to 2003.

Although the cost of two first-round picks might seem like a fortune on the surface, coach Sean Payton pointed out that the Saints hope both of the picks wind up coming late in the round, which made the value perfectly fair on their chart.

“This was one that was easy,” said Payton, who made no apologies about New Orleans’ aggressive trading history in the draft. “Look, these were the same questions last year when we moved our second-round pick for Alvin Kamara. And that appeared to be ‘ahhh’ a lot. And yet, shoot, what’s our country’s national debt? I mean, hopefully we’re [just] talking about a late first-round pick next year.”

Report: Saints Looking to Make a Big Move to Leap from 27 in the First Round of the Draft

The Saints have reportedly made numerous phone calls about making “a big leap up” in the first round from No.27 according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Usually when an NFL team tries to move up that far in the draft, they are looking for a franchise quarterback. Needless to say, the Saints currently have one of the best QBs in the business in Drew Brees but he is 39 years old and they may be looking for his successor in what is considered an extremely strong quarterback draft. The question is who they could be targeting. It seems unlikely they could move into the top 10 as they have only limited chips to bargain with, given the team has no second-round pick this year.

They were linked heavily to Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield early in the process, but he may end up being the No. 1 overall pick and looks certain to come off the board in the top-ten as will USC’s Sam Darnold. But they could be in play for UCLa’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, or Louisville’s Lamar Jackson-particularly if one of those three seem to be falling during the draft.

Giving up a first-round pick in 2019 would be a steep price for the Saints to pay. That said, this is a team without glaring weaknesses they need to address. Preparing for the post-Brees future might be a smart move.