2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints bring fresh faces into Week 1 vs. Atlanta

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-02 19:34

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Saints coach Sean Payton seems likely to open the regular season by throwing a dose of youth and inexperience at the visiting Atlanta Falcons.

As of Monday, 10 rookies - six of them undrafted - and three other players who have yet to be on the field for a regular season snap were on the Saints' 53-man roster.

Some of those players may not be active on Sunday, but the Saints will need several of them to suit up.

Asked if he found it unusual to head into Week 1 with zero regular season experience on more than one-fifth of the roster, Payton said, ``We don't pay much attention to that, really.''

``We look closely at how they're going to fit into the plan, how they're going to play in the kicking game and the progress they made at their position group,'' the coach added.

Receiver Kenny Stills, drafted in the fifth round, made a case during preseason that he might be the best deep threat on the club.

He not only gave opponents trouble with his speed, but also made some difficult catches that required balance along the sideline or the coordination to haul in a deep pass with one hand on a dead run.

Defensive end Glenn Foster, an undrafted free agent from Illinois, had four sacks, five quarterback hits and a forced fumble in the preseason.

Nick Toon, a 2012 fourth-round pick who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, was among the leading receivers in the preseason with nine catches for 164 yards, including a 56-yarder on a deep throw over the top from Drew Brees.

Safety Kenny Vaccaro, the club's first-round pick, made 18 preseason tackles, second most on the club, and looks like a hard hitter.

``The rookies and young guys definitely gave the fans something to smile about in the preseason,'' Vaccaro said. ``Nick and Kenny (Stills) flashed the whole time. Glenn Foster was a beast every game. We've got some young talent that can definitely help this team.''

The Saints also kept receiver Andy Tanner, who also hasn't yet played in the regular season, but has spent the past two-plus seasons on New Orleans' practice squad.

``He hasn't played in a game but is a very polished receiver,'' Toon said of Tanner. ``As far as everyone else, you've got to start somewhere.''

Toon, whose father, Al Toon, was an All-Pro receiver, said NFL teams seek a balance of youth and experience, understanding that players of all ages have assets and liabilities.

``Young bodies are always good, typically less wear and tear,'' Toon said. ``But a young body means a young mind and an experienced body means an experienced mind, so there's a give-and-take.''

The other Saints rookies are offensive tackle Terron Armstead, nose tackle John Jenkins, tight end Josh Hill, guard Tim Lelito, cornerback Rod Sweeting, inside linebacker Kevin Reddick and running back Khiry Robinson. Armstead and Jenkins were third-round picks. The rest were undrafted.

Defensive end Tyrunn Walker, who made the Saints as an undrafted rookie last season, has dressed for one NFL game, but did not play.

For now, Saints veterans seem confident that the relative lack of experience on their roster won't become a problem.

``The Saints do such a good job of finding these gems,'' said outside linebacker Junior Galette, who pointed to receiver Lance Moore and running back Pierre Thomas as past examples of undrafted players who became key starters.

Galette was undrafted in 2010, but now is projected to start because of serious knee injuries to Victor Butler and Will Smith.

``Everyone here who's an undrafted free agent on the team feels like they belong,'' Galette said.

Payton added that the Saints record of giving undrafted players a fair shot gives the team a chance to get the best of them after each draft, which might explain why six were good enough to be on the Week 1 roster.

``One of the selling points (of signing with New Orleans) is we are going to play the best players, and a guy who is a free agent out of college will have the same opportunities as the draft picks,'' Payton said. ``So I think (it helps) in that regard.''

Notes: Payton declined to provide an injury update on veteran linebacker Jon Vilma, who missed the preseason because of arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Coaches are not required to issue injury reports for Sunday games until the preceding Wednesday. Payton also declined to discuss the status of outside linebackers Galette (left leg) and Martez Wilson (left elbow), but both said they practiced and teammates said they appeared to be ready. Galette, Wilson and Parys Haralson are the only three outside linebackers listed on the roster. ... Payton said the Saints added sixth-round draft choice Rufus Johnson, a defensive end, and offensive lineman Senio Kelemete to their practice squad Monday. They join QB Ryan Griffin, TE Michael Higgins, OT Marcel Jones, FB Austin Johnson, WR Saleem Hakim and CB Jumal Rolle.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Austin CollieJan 29 03:33a

Free-agent WR Austin Collie (Patriots) signed a contract with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Tom BradyJan 28 12:33p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (illness) admitted that he is currently battling a cold, but he said he expects to be 100% ready for the Super Bowl Sunday, [ More ]

Brandon MebaneJan 27 11:23p

Seattle Seahawks DL Brandon Mebane (hamstring) said Tuesday, Jan. 27, that his hamstring surgery went well and he should be full go for the team's offseason program in April.

Richard ShermanJan 27 11:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) has torn ligaments in his elbow, but he is improving daily and he is no longer receiving treatment for the injury.

LeGarrette BlountJan 27 08:33p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount should be a factor in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Feb. 1, in the opinion of Boston Herald writer Karen [ More ]

Adrian PetersonJan 27 07:43p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was directed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to meet with a league-assigned psychiatrist following Peterson's suspension. The National Football League Players Association is now [ More ]

Rob GronkowskiJan 27 12:23p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is an offensive weapon that the Seattle Seahawks are focused on shutting down during the Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1. Seahawks head coach [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 27 10:43a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson's one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team voided the guarantee of a $3,184,062 salary in 2015.

Josh GordonJan 26 02:13p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is in Stage Three of an alcohol program, which requires him to be tested for alcohol for a minimum of two years. His failed [ More ]

Rob GronkowskiJan 26 02:03p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski could cause a problem for the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX, because the Seahawks defense allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends this [ More ]

Earl ThomasJan 26 02:03p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) said he won't miss the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots with a dislocated shoulder, but he also admitted that it won't [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jan 26 01:52p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said he'll need to shut himself down this offseason in order to enter 2015 fully healthy and in great shape. He [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 26 12:33p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon tested positive for alcohol, according to sources, and his failed test will subject him to a possible one-year suspension. Gordon caught 24 passes for [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 26 12:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) is recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, and the surgeon who operated on him is hoping that he will be at [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jan 26 11:22a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said he played this season with two tears in his right hamstring, which never fully healed.

Josh GordonJan 25 09:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be under contract through the 2016 season, and he will only be a restricted free agent after that year due to his looming [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 25 04:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has reportedly failed another drug test and will be subject to a one-year banishment, according to multiple league sources.

Earl ThomasJan 23 09:02p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) will play in the Super Bowl, head coach Pete Carroll said Friday, Jan. 23.

Dennis PittaJan 23 04:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) met with some specialists last week, but the team is not expected to have an update on his status for a few weeks, [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 23 01:12p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel had a big proponent last year in owner Jimmy Haslam, but Haslam now thinks the team needs a quarterback in order to get their [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamJan 23 10:32a

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) said he'll rehabilitate his shoulder injury after the Pro Bowl, but he hasn't made a final decision on surgery. 'It's something we [ More ]

Mark IngramJan 22 06:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram, who will be eligible for free agency this offseason, wants to return to the team next year, and he thinks the interest is [ More ]

Vernon DavisJan 22 06:22p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had just two touchdowns in 2014, and they both came in Week 1. He also wasn't targeted at all in the red zone [ More ]

Geno SmithJan 22 05:32p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith has a lot of talent and promise, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. At the same time, Bowles acknowledged that the quarterback [ More ]

Brian HoyerJan 22 04:52p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be re-signed this offseason, according to his agent. Hoyer is expected to meet with general manager Ray Farmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in the near future.

Johnny ManzielJan 22 02:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will be working with a new offensive coordinator this year in John DeFilippo, but DeFilippo is unsure if the team's quarterback next year is [ More ]

Joe FlaccoJan 22 12:52p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have his fourth difference offensive coordinator in as many years in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. However, head coach John Harbaugh is confident Flacco [ More ]

Tom BradyJan 22 10:12a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is now scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, Jan. 22, and he could come under fire due to the report of deflated [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 21 09:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has had knee surgery, head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 21. While there has been concern Burfict might have to begin the [ More ]

Mike WallaceJan 21 09:03p

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace's future with the team is unclear. General manager Dennis Hickey would not say Wednesday, Jan. 21, whether Wallace will be back or if his [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 21 04:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could benefit from new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, according to Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Carr said DeFilippo will do great with Manziel, adding [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 21 04:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) said he will practice in a brace, but should not have any limitations on gameday.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group