Saints look to separate wheat from chaff in training camp

Kenny Vaccaro of the New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Kenny Vaccaro of the New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Training camp is finally under way and a New Orleans Saints team full of new faces is eager to see who separates themselves from the rest of the pack.

A number of players who joined the team this offseason are largely unknown entities. Experienced players like A.J. Klein, Manti Te’o and Alex Okafor have flashed in the past, but it’s unknown whether they can consistently produce in a larger role.

Detroit Lions cast-off Corey Fuller was never really given a chance to contribute at wide receiver, but he has the potential to be something special in New Orleans.

And while the wide receiver lineup is all but set with the big three of Michael Thomas, Willie Snead and free agent addition TedGinn Jr., the Saints have seven receivers reaching free agency next year.

The team needs to find those must-have’s and this year’s training camp will go a long way towards that.

Linebacker Adam Bighill was a Canadian Football League star with the BC Lions, but it remains to be seen if his success can translate to the NFL.

In a suddenly crowded defensive backfield, young cornerback P.J. Williams needs to show he can stay healthy and finally live up to his huge potential.

There’s also the new influx of rookie talent.

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Players such as Marshon Lattimore, Alex Anzalone, Trey Hendrickson, Marcus Williams, Art Maulet and Al-Quadin Muhammad all have the potential to stand out over the next few weeks.

Training camp will provide a good testing ground for the new Saints veterans.

If Klein can expand on the solid play he showed while with the Carolina Panthers, he should be a clear favorite for the middle linebacker spot spot.

Okafor could lock up the Edge spot opposite Cameron Jordan if he shines in camp, but he’ll have to stand out above Trey Hendrickson, Hau’oli Kikaha, Darryl Tapp and Muhammad.

With so many players yet to make their mark, the Saints are hoping new opportunities will lead to new successes.

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The team has more questions than answers at this point — particularly on defense. But identifying the standout performers in training camp will hopefully provide a few of those answers.