A lot of speculation surround the New Orleans Saints and their perceived inability to reach a new long term contract with quarterback Drew Brees, who recently aired his frustration with the lack of progress in a radio interview with WWL.
But with Brees contract situation, and of course the on-going fall out over the bounty gate scandal, dominating the headlines the fact that New Orleans has not signed any of their draft picks has been placed on the back burner.
News continues to flow out of the NFL as teams begin to sign one draft pick after the another in preparation for upcoming mini-camps and OTA’s, meanwhile news on the Saints picks remains slime to none.
The Saints had five picks this year, staring in the third round, after trading away their first round pick to the Patriots last year for the right to draft Mark Ingram, and then being stripped of their second round pick as part of the punishment for the team’s bounty scandal.
New Orleans selected defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (3rd, 89th), wide receiver Nick Toon (4th, 122nd), safety/cornerback Corey White (5th, 162nd), guard Andrew Tiller (6th, 179th), and tackle Marcel Jones (7th, 234th).
Early indications are that the Saints top two picks — Hicks and Toon — shined during a three-day rookie mini-camp a little over a week ago.
That news is encouraging for the Saints who need help on the defensive line. Under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo the defense will apply more pressure with the front for and utilize less blitzing.
After the loss of Robert Meachem, who signed with the San Diego Chargers in free agency, New Orleans could use another play maker to compliment Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, and Devery Henderson.
Interim head coach Joe Vitt had high praise for Toon’s route running ability and sticky hands. Just how much he will contribute to the offense in 2012 is yet to be seen, but his pedigree in undeniable.
Corey White was a safety in college, but the Saints have every intention to use him as a press corner. He is currently competing for the nickel corner spot alongside Johnny Patrick and the recently signed Marquis Johnson.
As for Andrew Tiller and Marcel Jones they will likely make the team as backups to the starters.
You can’t help but think though the Saints may have some talent with these two, after all they uncovered Pro Bowl offensive lineman — Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks — in the later rounds of the draft.
The Saints though have plenty of time to sign all their picks, and it is routine for both drafted and undrafted rookies to participate in a teams off-season activities without a contract.
It doesn’t appear that New Orleans is anxious to get these contracts wrapped up quickly. That could be a sign they are preoccupied with signing Drew Brees and getting the face of the franchise back in camp where he belongs.