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Non-starter Saints to Watch Tonight

Fans often bemoan the pre-season because after the first quarter or so they don’t recognize many names and the score really doesn’t matter anyway. So here is a list of players who are not starters to watch for in tonight game against the Cardinals

Sedrick Ellis (98) – DT

Who is he? Saints 1st round draft pick.

Why watch him? OK, so he may already be considered a starter, but he’s never played in a game as a Saint, so he may get some extra playing time and play later than most starters.

Pierre Thomas (23) – RB

Who is he? 2007 UDFA that played after Bush, McAllister and Stecker were all hurt.

Why watch him? Thomas has been getting high praise from the media and the Saints coaching staff and looks to be the heir apparent to Duece as the partner to Reggie in the backfield.

Carl Nicks (77) – OG/T

Who is he? Possibly the steal of the 2008 draft.

Why watch him? It is getting more and more likely that Nicks will start somewhere on the Saints offensive line during the 2008 season. Nicks fell far in the draft after a misunderstanding caused him to be labeled as a “bad character” guy. He doesn’t appear to be a problem and has been living up to his nickname of “IHOP” (because he pancakes defenders).

Adrian Arrington (87) – WR

Who is he? Saints 7th round draft pick.

Why watch him? Arrington has been the biggest surprise of Saints camp this year. He’s has a lot of buzz around him and now it’s time to see if he can live up to it in a game. Arrington is probably going to make the 53 man roster if he can, maybe even become the #3 receiver.

Robert Meachem (17) – WR

Who is he? Saints 1st round draft pick in 2007

Why watch him? Meachem only made a brief appearance in a pre-season game last year and fans haven’t seen much of Meachem. He was injured most of last season and wasn’t even activated for a regular season game last year. Meachem has Devery Henderson speed on paper, but can he be the deep threat that Devery is and make Devery expendable?

Usama Young (28) – CB

Who is he? Saints 3rd round draft pick in 2007

Why watch him? Young has made significant progress since last year and has been talked about as starting at CB possibly this year. The Saints need a lot of improvement from last year’s CB performance as many Saints fans know…

Randall Gay (21) – CB

Who is he? Free Agent pick up this offseason.

Why watch him? He’s been looking good in practice and is a hopeful to improve the Saints problems at CB. He will probably start across from Jason David, but may see more playing time that David since he’s new to the team.

Marvin Mithcell (50) – I/OLB

Who is he? Saints 7th round draft pick from 2007

Why watch him? With Vilma coming to town, it places both Simoneau and Mitchell in a competition for both MLB or WLB. Mitchell is a developmental player that some fans have high hopes for. He’s a thumper, but can he do more than just short yardage? Can he compete for the backup MLB role only or for the WLB role as well?

Taylor Mehlhaff (5) – K

Who is he? Saints 6th round draft pick

Why watch him? He’s competing with Martin Gramatica for the starting kicker job. Watch for both Mehlhaff and Gramatica to try to get touchbacks to prove how strong their legs are and also be accurate in any long field goals. Don’t be surprised if Payton even angles for a field goal duel, risking runs when a pass would be appropriate simply because Payton would win either way:. either a first down or a chance to see one of his kickers in action.

Lynell Hamilton (30) – RB

Who is he? UDFA pickup this offseason

Why watch him? Hamilton was a standout RB at San Diego State before an injury gave another RB to take his spot as the starting RB. He converted to FB, but has since rededicated himself to being a RB, but a bit one at 235 pounds. If Hamilton really impresses and PT really impresses as well, you might see Aaron Stecker become expendable. Hamilton is probably the biggest long shot on this list and probably will not make the team, but Saints fans should be pulling for Hamilton, as it would save the Saints from worrying about acquiring a bruising back once Deuce moves on. Sorry to say, but that could happen in the next couple of years.

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