The 2013 New Orleans Saints Rookie Camp was a great success according to Sean Payton and the Saints staff who attended the camp. It is a little bit of a pity that camp was closed to the public, but I’m sure the Saints higher ups know what they’re doing and that they were working on wrinkles that they didn’t want people to see.
Sean Payton’s Take: He said, quite wisely in my estimation, that the expectation for the team’s rookies is tempered with caution. He said that he makes no quick conclusions one way or the other as to who would play where and when. His thought was that regardless of conditioning and quality of reps in camp, that each rookie, drafted or undrafted and newly signed, would have to take time to catch up to the vets. One case in point as to how the Saints don’t judge a book by its cover is Marques Colston. Fourth from becoming “Mr. Irrelevant” in 2006, Colston quickly proved his worth, and has been arguably the New Orleans Saints best receiver of all time.
March 20, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton answers questions from reporters during the annual NFL meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Payton was a little bit vague when asked who impressed him, that is, until it came to former Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin. He said, “I thought Ryan did a good job. He’s from right here at Tulane, and he’s in a system very familiar with ours, because Curtis Jonson is running the team.” It is Payton’s thought that he will make a particularly quick transition to the NFL and the Saints’ terminology because he was under the tutelage of people who could help him pick up the nuances of the offense and feel comfortable quickly.
Signings/Cuts: Following Rookie Camp, the New Orleans Saints signed 6 players. Of the 6, 4 were on offense, and 2 on defense. Offensive Guard Jeremiah Warren; Temple, Texas native Running Back Khiry Robinson; Kicker Jose Maltos; and Louisiana-Monroe Wideout Brent Leonard were the offensive adds. Defensively, the New Orleans Saints added former Cincinnati Bengal CB Korey Lindsey and former Seattle Seahawks DE Baraka Atkins. Cut by the team was former Furman C Ryan Lee, ex-WVU RB Shawne Alston, and former Ute CB Ryan Lacy.
Players I would have liked to see stick: Really, there’s only one for me in this category. I know that Ryan Lacy is only 5’9″, but I think he has the skill and the heart to really make it in the NFL. Watching videos of some of his pass breakups and leaps are at times other worldly. He is an extremely soft-spoken individual who exudes class. He initially committed to the Utah Utes as a Running Back Wideout hybrid, but quickly learned the technique and skill of becoming a valuable special teams contributor and cornerback after a 2008 medical redshirt forced him to prove his wares a bit more.
In 2011 and 2012 as a starter, Lacy had two interceptions each year, and broke up a total of 15 passes over that span. Some of his best work came against stiff competition (7 tackles an INT and pass defended against USC in his Junior year and a fumble recovery for a TD last year against UCLA).
While I’m sure the New Orleans Saints could bring back Lacy at some point in time to the practice squad or as rosters get trimmed down, it’s sad to see such a character guy face such an uphill battle to make it to the top. However, I must say, adversity and being battle tested brings a want and a desire often much more than someone who is a first round choice who feels as though he’s naturally going to get playing time and reps no matter what.