Shop for New Orleans Saints gear at Fanatics.com

Saints Training Camp Preview: Rookie Edition

The most fun in training camp and especially in hated pre-season games for a die-hard fan is watching “the new guys” and seeing what players could contribute this year or in the future. In a year after a Super Bowl win and only losing two valuable contributors on the team (Fujita and Bell), you would think that not many rookies could have a chance to make the team, much less start. That may not be the case with the New Orleans Saints crop of rookies.

First let’s look at the history since the Loomis-Payton regime came into town in 2006. Out of 25 drafted players in the last four years, 21 made the team the first year (including IR/PUP), and an even more impressive 18 are still on the team’s roster going into training camp this year. So don’t be surprised if the 2010 New Orleans Saints have a lot of rookies on the roster.

In addition, look for some UnDrafted Free Agents (UDFAs) to either make the team, or make enough noise to keep an eye out for them. Pierre Thomas and Jonathan Casillas both made the final 53 their first year. Many others have been on and off the active roster in the first and following years, to eventually start or get some playing time. In 2009, the Saints had five UDFAs that were originally signed by Loomis-Payton start a game.

Here is a list of the Saints drafted players and UDFAs:

1st round: Patrick Robinson – CB
2nd round: Charles Brown – OT
3rd round: Jimmy Graham – TE
4th round: Al Woods – DT
5th round: Matt Tenant – C
6th round: Sean Canfield – QB

UDFAs (in Alphabetical Order):
Montez Billings – WR
Brandon Carter – OG
Harry Coleman – LB
Junior Galette – LB/DE
Clint Gresham – LS
Chris Ivory – RB
Sam Maxwell – LB
Jay Ross – DT
Brandon Sharpe – LB/DE
Andy Tanner – WR
Marcell Young – CB

Let’s look at this starting from the drafted players and including any other players at that position.

Patrick Robinson and Marcell Young – It’s a lock that Robinson will make the team. He will probably be the nickel or dime CB depending on how he does in camp and pre-season. The starters are Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter and that’s not changing. It’s likely that Randall Gay will either be the nickel or dime opposite Robinson’s landing spot. That leaves Young in competition with three other players unless Gregg Williams (defensive coordinator) decides that Malcolm Jenkins and Usama Young, who have both moved to free safety are good enough for the fifth spot (saving roster spots). Unless Young has an incredible camp (really incredible), Young’s only hope is the practice squad. Check mark for Robinson and X mark for Young.

Charles Brown will make the team as at least a backup offensive tackle, end of story. He’s considered a developmental player, but if he has a great camp and pre-season could unseat Jermon Bushrod as the starting left tackle. With Jammal Brown gone, Brown has a shot at it. Brees wasn’t touched much last year, but Bushrod required lots of help and chips. If Bushrod continues to get better, Brown will just have to sit, wait and learn. Check mark for Brown.
Jimmy Graham will make the team at least as a backup, part time TE. If there are any injuries, expect Graham to see the field. Graham is also considered a developmental player. A physical basketball player for the University of Miami, he wasn’t pro-level BBall talent and decided to play one year of college level football, and showed lots of promise. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Graham impress a lot of people and coaches and see more than just a few plays, but it’s not expected yet. Check mark for Graham.

Al Woods is a roll of the dice for the Saints. He has the reputation of being talented, but unmotivated. Jay Ross (UDFA defensive tackle) and Woods both have a good shot to make the team if they have good camps, and possibly start if they have great camps. Last year was a tough year at DT next to Sedrick Ellis. Ellis will start at DT and his clone, Anthony Hargrove, will back him up. Unfortunately for Hargrove, the Saints need a different type of player next to Ellis (or himself) on the D-line. That player never materialized for the Saints last year. The Saints did not sign any DTs in free agency, but did bring back Earl Heyman, who spent 2009 on the practice squad. Demario Pressley is nearly the identical prospect that Woods is.

Considered talented, but unmotivated and a mid-round draft pick (Saints – 2008). Remi Ayodele just doesn’t look like the answer, but has a chance to make the team as either the starter or backup. So between Ayodele, Pressley, Heyman, Woods and Ross, three will be left out. It’s likely that at least one of the veterans (Ayodele or Pressley) will make the team, so it’s not going to be easy, but the interesting twist is that if either Ross or Woods have a spectacular camp, they could be starting week one. Question marks for both Ross and Woods, with a possibility of starting.

Part 2 Tomorrow!


Enjoyed this post?
Subscribe to Saints Gab via RSS Feed or E-mail and receive daily news updates from us!

Submit to Digg  Stumble This Story  Share on Twitter  Post on Facebook  Post on MySpace  Add to del.icio.us  Bark It Up  Submit to Reddit  Fave on Technorati

One Response to “Saints Training Camp Preview: Rookie Edition”

  1. jcp026 says:

    I could see Jenkins getting the job as dime back as well as playing some at FS. Could play a lot at FS if Sharper isn’t healthy. Gay could be cut. He just makes too much money for a potential dime back. Maybe they’ll “Bobby McCray” him.

Leave a Reply