We’re almost midway through the season and we have enough material for a first evaluation of the rookie players the Saints selected back in May. As the season goes on we will continue to keep an eye on them and we’ll have some more rookie watch updates.
Brandin Cooks (20th overall)
Cooks had a promising start, racking up 217 total yards and one touchdown over the first three games. After that we witnessed a slow decline in terms of production, even if he was almost always on the field. Maybe it’s due to Sean Payton, maybe Brees was looking elsewhere but after the initial “rookie of the year candidate” excitement Cooks has been really quiet. In the game against Detroit we saw a few more deep balls so maybe Cooks will see a few more targets going on. His potential is huge and the Saints just scratched the surface so far. Hopefully he’ll make a bigger impact as the season goes on.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste (58th overall)
SJB is kind of a baffling case. Ok, we knew he was “raw” and needed time to develop but how long do we have to wait to see him on the field? Can he be THAT much worse than Corey White or Patrick Robinson? Or Brian Dixon? I think Rob Ryan owes us an explanation.
Khairi Fortt (126th overall)
Injured before the season started and then waived a few days ago. That was fast. Now Fortt is a member of the Cincinnati Bengals and of course he’ll be good to go and ready to make a couple of superhuman plays on special teams when the Saints host the Bengals in week 11.
Vinnie Sunseri (167th overall)
Aug 15, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Vinnie Sunseri (43) against the Tennessee Titans during a preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Sunseri already played 23 defensive snaps, which is a good sign considering the depth at the safety position; he played a handful of snaps on special teams too. He performed fairly well in preseason and has shown he’s a good asset for this team and he’s not wasting a roster spot.
Ronald Powell (169th overall)
Powell has yet to play on defense but he needs to keep up the good job on special teams and maybe he’ll get a chance to play some snaps on defense too. Pretty much what you would want from a fifth-round choice.
Tavon Rooks (202nd overall)
Rooks is currently on the Saints’ practice squad and we knew from the beginning he was an investment for the future, as I pointed out in my post-draft analysis. Hopefully he’ll be ready to step up as a starter once Zach Strief decides to retire.
Who do you think is the best Saints rookie so far? Who needs to do more? Let us know!