2015 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

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jalen SaundersSep 1 09:13a

New Orleans Saints WR Jalen Saunders is being traded to the New England Patriots Tuesday, Sept. 1, for a conditional draft pick, according to a league source.

Caleb SturgisAug 31 11:32p

Miami Dolphins PK Caleb Sturgis remains the front runner in his competition with PK Andrew Franks. Sturgis said he did not have a good early camp, 'but I've been hitting the ball better lately.'

K. ThompkinsAug 31 07:52p

Oakland Raiders WR Kenbrell Thompkins was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Trent RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson was released Monday, Aug. 31, according to a source.

Josh BoyceAug 31 06:42p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce and TE Jimmay Mundine were released Monday, Aug. 31.

E.J. GainesAug 31 05:52p

St. Louis Rams CB E.J. Gaines (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 31. WR Damian Williams was subsequently released.

Travis KelceAug 31 05:32p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (leg) left practice early Monday, Aug. 31, because of a right leg injury. Kelce was able to walk off the field but did not return to practice.

Brad SmelleyAug 31 05:32p

St. Louis Rams WR Tyler Slavin was waived and TE Brad Smelley (undisclosed) was waived/injured Monday, Aug. 31.

Julius ThomasAug 31 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) is expected to need surgery on a tendon in his finger and is expected to be out four to five weeks, according to [ More ]

Garrett HartleyAug 31 04:32p

Pittsburgh Steelers PK Garrett Hartley (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Aug. 31.

Kevin NorwoodAug 31 04:32p

Seattle Seahawks WR Kevin Norwood was traded to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a conditional draft pick, according to a source.

Martavis BryantAug 31 04:02p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant's appeal of his suspension has been denied, and he will sit out the first four games of the regular season.

Phil BatesAug 31 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Phil Bates was released Monday, Aug. 31.

Alan BonnerAug 31 03:12p

Houston Texans WRs Alan Bonner and Travis Labhart were released Monday, Aug. 31.

Joique BellAug 31 02:42p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') was activated from the Phyiscally Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 31.

DeVante ParkerAug 31 01:32p

Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (foot) said he is making progress in his recovery from foot surgery but would not say if he will be ready for the start of the regular season.

Kirk CousinsAug 31 12:52p

Updating an earlier report, Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins will be the starting quarterback moving forward, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Gruden said 'it's Kirk's team.'

Victor CruzAug 31 12:22p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf, knee) still hasn't received clearance to practice Monday, Aug. 31. Cruz said that the inflammation has gone down and that the team [ More ]

Aldrick RobinsonAug 31 12:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR DeAndre Carter, WR Aldrick Robinson and WR Trent Steelman were cut Monday, Aug. 31.

Tyrod TaylorAug 31 11:42a

Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was named the starting quarterback Monday, Aug. 31, over QB Matt Cassel an QB EJ Manuel.

Devin FunchessAug 31 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess (hamstring) left practice Monday, Aug. 31, with hamstring tightness.

Jeremy StewartAug 31 10:52a

Denver Broncos QB Zac Dysert, TE Joe Don Duncan, TE Jake Murphy and RB Jeremy Stewart were waived Monday, Aug. 31. TE Jeff Heuerman (knee) was placed on Injured Reserve.

Josh ScobeeAug 31 10:42a

Jacksonville Jaguars PK Josh Scobee was acquired by the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday, Aug. 31.

Fred JacksonAug 31 10:42a

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson was released Monday, Aug. 31. He was slated to make $2.35 million this year and wasn't asked to take a pay cut.

Jalen ParmeleAug 31 10:22a

Cleveland Browns RB Jalen Parmele, TE Anthony Ezeakunne and WR Shane Wynn were cut Monday, Aug. 31.

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