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Saints rookie watch vs. Browns

Who should you be watching on Thursday?

Steve Geller
August 09, 2017 - 7:19 pm
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By Steve Geller, @stevegellerwwl

Preseason football is here for the Saints, and the initial excitement of seeing the Black & Gold back on the field usually quickly turns into an even bigger yearning for the regular season.  The games don’t count, and starters typically see little (maybe even no) playing time.  But these games are useful to gauge a team’s depth along with seeing the rookies getting their 1st taste of NFL action. 

The biggest issue for Black & Gold over the past three seasons has been the defense, and quite a few of the newbies will be counted on this season in order for the unit to become respectable. 

Let’s get the bad news out the way off the bat. The 11th overall pick in the draft Marshon Latitmore won’t likely be in action against the Browns.  He “tweaked” his knee according to Coach Sean Payton and hasn't practiced in over a week. We’ll have to wait and see if the cornerback makes a return to camp following this coming contest in Cleveland.  Some rookies on defense you can look out for, though, are Marcus Williams and Alex Anzalone. 

Williams was the team's second round draft pick out of Utah. His ability to pick off passes was his biggest selling point, especially since New Orleans managed only nine interceptions as a team last year.

The safety notched 10 interceptions his final two years in college and has displayed that talent at camp. Now it’s time to do it in a game. 

Anzalone played college ball for the Florida Gators and was a third round selection.  The linebacker has been working quite a bit with the first team defense after a trip to injured reserve for Dannell Ellerbe helped clear the way for more snaps for him. Anzalone mentioned QB play as being the biggest difference from college to the NFL for him.  We'll see how he can read and react to what the Browns offense does.

On the offensive side of things Ryan Ramczyk was penciled in as the starting left tackle since Terron Armstead is on the mend from shoulder surgery.  We might not see Ramczyk, though, since he’s missed the last two practices for undisclosed reasons.  The 32nd overall pick in the draft was rehabbing from hip surgery during OTAs and mini-camp, but he was a full go for the start of training camp. Hopefully he did not suffer any setbacks.

Three rookies at running back could see a good number of snaps.  The Saints traded back into the 3rd round to grab Alvin Kamara, and he has been a lot of fun to watch.  The team sees him as a Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles-like dual threat in the backfield with his versatility as a runner and receiver.  Kamara’s transition to the NFL has seemed to go pretty smoothly, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he wound up with a significant role this year. He has also been in on reps on special teams where he is auditioning for the role of punt returner.

 

Two undrafted rookies look to stand out in hopes of at least making the practice squad. Trey Edmunds is one. The running back out of Maryland stands 6'2, 223lbs and is the son of former Pro Bowl TE Ferrell Edmunds. He has good size, but injuries marred his college career.

Then there is Darius Victor who looks like a Black & Gold bowling ball when attacking defenses.

Victor is 5'7, 227lbs and loves to plow through players.  At Towson, he rushed for 3,309 yards with 41 touchdowns.

Last but not least, you have to mention Travin Dural. The former LSU wide receiver might be the most asked about player this training camp.  He dealt with a shoulder issue his final year in Purple & Gold and will need to show something on special teams to have any chance at making the roster since the Saints are stacked at the position. 

 

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