Saints: 3 players who will turn heads at training camp

New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Tanoh Kpassagnon
Tanoh Kpassagnon. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Saints who could turn heads – No.1: Tanoh Kpassagnon

Tanoh Kpassagnon’s offseason signing with the Saints seemed to fly under the radar, but he’ll be anything but a blip in training camp.

The 24-year-old defensive end is a raw and freakishly talented athlete who spent four underperforming seasons in Kansas City. Kpassagnon struggled to break into the starting lineup for his first two years but slowly gained a more prominent role in the Chiefs’ defensive line.

Throughout 61 career games, Kpassagnon totaled 75 tackles, seven sacks, 73 quarterback pressures, and one forced fumble, along with another ten tackles and three sacks in the postseason. Last year, Kpassagnon played in 67 percent of Kansas City’s defensive snaps but the Chiefs didn’t try hard enough to keep him and he left for the Saints. Their loss.

Kpassagnon will be an imposing force for the Saints whose star-studded defensive end unit already includes Pro Bowler Cam Jordan, 2018 first-round pick Marcus Davenport, potential breakout star Carl Granderson, and this year’s pick Payton Turner.

So why should Kpassagnon impress over the others?

In his highlight tapes, Kpassagnon shows incredible godly athleticism in his ability to shed blockers and slide inside to tackle when necessary. He’s got a surprisingly quick first step off the snap, and given his rangy, pouncing prowess, his looming presence on the edge both strikes fear and evokes awe. He’s got some flaws as a run defender and could work with defensive coach Ryan Nielsen on his positioning, but watching him play is like watching a bull buck off a cowboy.

It took Ex-Saints defensive end, Trey Hendrickson, four years to break out, and year five could be the lucky season for Kpassagnon. He enters the arena with a Chief-sized chip on his shoulder and will battle his worthy New Orleans competitors for the defensive end starting spot.

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He’ll be a hard one to miss at training camp.