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

Miles AustinMar 30 11:42a

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) will likely sign with the Philadelphia Eagles this week if all goes well with his physical, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIIMar 29 07:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the first-team quarterback during offseason workouts, according to head Jay Gruden, but Gruden also said he expects QB Kirk Cousins and [ More ]

Stevan RidleyMar 29 10:12a

Free-agent RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is scheduled to meet with a few teams this week. Ridley is expected to receive full medical clearance in around six weeks.

Andre EllingtonMar 27 07:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington, who averaged 20.6 touches per game in 2014 before being injured, won't have his role reduced in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. [ More ]

C.J. AndersonMar 27 07:32p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished 2014 with 648 rushing yards in the last six games, will enter the 2015 season at the top of the running back [ More ]

Jonathan MartinMar 27 04:32p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27.

Alan BallMar 27 03:02p

Free-agent CB Alan Ball (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jarrett BoykinMar 27 02:12p

Free-agent WR Jarrett Boykin (Packers) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nick FolesMar 27 01:22p

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said it's the team's intention to draft a quarterback in this year's draft, despite trading for QB Nick Foles in the offseason. [ More ]

Dont'a HightowerMar 26 08:02p

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) will miss six to seven months after undergoing surgery on a torn right labrum. Hightower's availability for the beginning of the regular [ More ]

Brian QuickMar 26 06:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick (shoulder) is making progress in recovering from a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder he suffered last October. Head coach Jeff Fisher has [ More ]

Jay CutlerMar 26 06:32p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will head into the offseason as the team's No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, but head coach John Fox said there will be [ More ]

Danny LansanahMar 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah signed his one-year tender Thursday, March 26.

Jonathan MartinMar 26 04:52p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was waived Thursday, March 26.

Pat SimsMar 26 04:22p

Free-agent DT Pat Sims (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 26.

Victor CruzMar 26 01:32p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) 'looks really good and light,' according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz started running last week six months after he tore the [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyMar 26 11:52a

Free-agent WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Steelers) re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday, March 26. Heyward-Bey signed a one-year deal with the team, but financial terms were not disclosed.

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

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