May 29, 2014; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Nick Toon (88) and wide receiver Marques Colston (12) during organized team activities at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
With New Orleans Saints minicamp and OTAs wrapping up, we now have a general idea of what to expect when the team begins training at The Greenbrier in West Virginia next month. OTAs are a great time for coaches to get a perspective and determine how and where their athletes will fit into the system. A number of players have made a strong impression so far, but it is still early to figure out their future with the organization. A little examining never hurt anybody though.
Heading into the new year, WR Nick Toon knew his job was on the line, and it still may be. However, a strong performance at minicamp has helped him outshine some of his competitors at the wide receiver position. Since the Saints drafted him in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, injuries have been a major issue. A few mental errors here and there haven’t helped his case either, if you can recall the loss against the New York Jets last November. It looks like Toon has found his comfort zone. The potential is there, so if he can stay healthy, he still has a shot at securing a spot on the 53-man roster.
Travaris Cadet is the fourth running back on the depth chart, but his versatility has really impressed coaches so far this offseason. With the departures of Darren Sproles and Lance Moore, Cadet is the leading candidate to take over punt and kick return duties. He also looks to be the frontrunner to grab ahold of the “Darren Sproles” role as a receiver out of the backfield from what we’ve seen so far at practice. He has the catching hands and quick feet to make big plays down the field, but looking at the past, he will need to improve his ball security.
The Saints 2014 fifth-round draft pick has taken all of his reps with the second team this offseason. In just a short amount of time, safety Vinnie Sunseri has shown what’s he got to be a major contributor on special teams and even on defense as a backup to Kenny Vaccaro. Sunseri was a vocal leader on Alabama’s defense in college, which could really help a team that has parted ways with a number of veterans. The Black and Gold saw something special in him and he is beginning to show it now. If his strong play from OTAs can transition over to training camp, we could see Sunseri give Marcus Ball a run for his money.
I had my doubts about Ryan Griffin making it as a legitimate backup in the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, I am cheering for the former Tulane star, but I didn’t think he would be able to perform well enough to keep up with Luke McCown. However, a solid performance at OTAs and minicamp has caused me to reevaluate my views toward him. He looks comfortable in the system and has limited the errors by making excellent reads and decisions. The battle for Drew Brees‘ relief is alive and well in the Big Easy.
The new season is just around the corner, Who Dat Nation. The talent is there, so how will Sean Payton, Rob Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff execute? I’ve got a good feeling that we may be looking at one of the best rosters the Saints have had in a long time. After a nice offseason, organized team activities are coming to an end. Next stop, training camp.