Reviewing the NOLA Saints rookies after 2022’s first quarter

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints drafted five players in this year's draft and added a few others through undrafted free agency. We've only really seen one rookie get consistent playing time simply because injuries have made their way through this rookie class.

That rookie, of course, is Chris Olave, who we'll start with in our rookie reviews after the first four weeks of the season. I won't be discussing any rookie who hasn't made an appearance in a game for the Saints yet because what do we really have to discuss if they haven't played?

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

*Player is no longer on the active roster

Chris Olave (Round 1: Pick 11)

We knew the Saints were wise to move up and draft Olave and the kid is proving that he's a full-fledged star just four games into his career. The Ohio State rookie already has 335 receiving yards (to put it into perspective -- Marquez Callaway led the team last year with 698 yards) and found the end zone for the first time in his pro career this past week.

Olave's best performance came in Week 3 against the Panthers when he amassed nine catches for 147 yards. He's had at least 40 yards receiving in all four of his games so far.

At some point, Olave is going to hit a wall but for now, he's a bright spot on what's been a very bad offense.

Alontae Taylor (Round 2: Pick 49)

Taylor appeared in the first two games of the season and played a lot of special teams during that time in the gunner role. His speed made him the perfect candidate for that role and it's no surprising that he appeared in over 70% of special teams snaps in both of those games.

In Week 2, Taylor saw more playing time in the secondary, appearing in 28% of the defensive snaps. Unfortunately, he was injured and is now on the IR until further notice. In the first two games, however, he was definitely impressive and the injury was a big blow to the Saints' special teams unit.

DaMarcus Fields (UDFA)*

Fields was one of the many UDFAs signed by the Saints and he made his NFL debut in Week 3. During his two games in the pros, Fields has appeared in 43% of special teams snaps but he clearly was in over his head in Week 4. The Vikings took advantage of the rookie's inexperience by running a successful fake punt against him.

That was where Fields stuck out the most, unfortunately, and was likely the leading factor in why he was waived on Tuesday afternoon.

Lewis Kidd (UDFA)

The Saints signed Kidd out of Montana State when the draft concluded and he's appeared in all four games this season, appearing in 12% of special teams snaps. He didn't appear on offense until this past week when he lined up as an extra lineman for the Saints, something that he might be asked to do if needed.

It's impressive for not only an undrafted free agent rookie to appear in their first four games but also throw in that the kid is from Montana State and he's already overcome the odds. I'm curious to see if he evolves with this team.

Those are the only four rookies who have appeared in games for the Saints through four games and, as noted earlier, Fields is no longer on the active roster. Trevor Penning, the team's other first-round pick, was injured during the preseason, D'Marco Jackson was injured during camp, and Jordan Jackson is on the practice squad.

The Saints put popular UDFA Smoke Monday on IR. Meanwhile, UDFAs Vincent Gray, Lucas Krull, Rashid Shaheed, and Nephi Sewell are on the practice squad as well as Tre Swilling, who they didn't sign in undrafted free agency but picked up later on.

Next. All-Time Leaders in Receiving Yards. dark

What are your thoughts on this rookie class so far?