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Former LSU, Breaux Bridge receiver Travin Dural prepares for hard-fought position battle with Saints

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By Joel Erickson -- Advocate

Travin Dural finds himself in a tough position heading into his second season with the New Orleans Saints.

Dural, the former LSU and Breaux Bridge player, spent all of his rookie year on the practice squad, absorbing the Saints offense while working behind a talented group of experienced wide receivers.

Now, Dural finds himself preparing to fight for a roster spot in a receiver room that has only gotten more crowded since the end of the season. New Orleans might have allowed Willie Snead to sign with Baltimore, but the Saints added free agent Cameron Meredith and third-rounder Tre'Quan Smith to a group that brings back Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Brandon Coleman, Tommylee Lewis and Austin Carr.

Full Article -- Advocate

Alex Okafor says he should be ready for Saints’ training camp

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By James Parks

Alex Okafor’s excellent first season with the New Orleans Saints ended prematurely after a late injury, but the team elected to bring him back on a two year contract during the NFL’s free agency period this offseason. Now, he says, is the time to get fully rehabbed from his injury.

That’s going according to plan, the 27 year old defensive end said.

“I’m right on track,” Okafor said at the Saints’ offseason workout. “I should be ready to go by training camp, but honestly, at this point, there’s no rush. We’re just trying to take it one day at a time and make sure that when I do come back I’m right back where I was.”

Where he was, was pretty impressive. In his first season with New Orleans after coming over as a free agent from the Arizona Cardinals last offseason, Okafor made an immediate impact, and was enjoying perhaps the best outing of his NFL career before suffering the injury in a Week 11 game against the Washington Redskins.

Full Article -- 247 Sports

Why the New Orleans Saints Could Win it All, Part II: Running Backs

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Ingram’s suspension hurts, but it’s not the end of the world.

By Chris Dunnells

In 2017, the New Orleans Saints’ Running Backs were really something special. After jettisoning off future Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson after Week 4, rookie Alvin Kamara and veteran Mark Ingram took off.

“Boom and Zoom,” as they became known, each had a Pro Bowl season as the duo become the first backfield to each have over 1,500 yards from scrimmage a piece. Ingram set a career high with 1,124 yards and Kamara, the NFL’s most efficient rusher, set a record for the most yards per touch, 7.7, with a minimum of 200 touches. Oh yeah, and Kamara added an extra 106 yards and a TD on kickoff returns.

So here’s why they’re better in 2018:

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: the 4-game suspension of Mark Ingram hurts. Make no mistake about it: Ingram’s presence in both the ground game and in...

How Boston Scott, once considered too small for football, became a Saints' draft pick

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By Christopher Dabe

The first time Boston Scott tried to play football his school wouldn't let him because they said he was too small.

"He tried to play basketball, too," said Scott's mother, Shelly, who remembered that experience as "kind of funny."
Scott has since made it difficult for anybody to overlook the 5-foot-7 running back, including the New Orleans Saints, who selected the former Louisiana Tech walk-on in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, with the 201st overall pick.

The Saints selected Scott for his shiftiness out of the backfield and his ability to catch passes. He also showed ability to stay on his feet no matter how much contact he absorbed.

"I don't know what those statistics are -- how many yards after contact, how many people he made miss -- but it was Boston's ability to make extra yards (that made him unique)," Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said.

Full Article -- Picayune

The Saints’ biggest cap hits in 2018

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The 2018 season finds the New Orleans Saints looking to defend their surprise NFC South championship and looking to get back into the postseason race.

In so doing, the Saints will return one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, armed with the most efficient quarterback in the game, the highest scoring backfield, a powerful and efficient offensive line, and a defense that, long the butt of jokes for its substandard play, now features a rotation of both young and experienced stars playing above and beyond where most observers thought they would.

With that kind of talent comes some major investments.

Full Article --247 Sports

Top 25 NFL players under age of 25: Goff only QB to make it, two Saints rank in top five

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DeForest Buckner and Hunter Henry found a way onto the list while the Rams boast No. 1 player

by Sean Wagner-McGough

If you're ever feeling depressed about the state of the NFL, do yourself a favor by wiping your mind of anything tangibly related to the catch rule, the quality of offensive line play, the Chargers' kicking situation, and Christian Hackenberg by pulling up all 32 rosters and sorting each of them by age. After getting over the initial wave of depression that usually hits when you realize how much younger than you the vast majority of players are -- what are we even doing with our lives, man? -- you'll feel better knowing about all of the players we'll have the pleasure of watching for the next decade-plus.

As the offseason slogs along -- it's somehow only been like three weeks since the draft -- it's time to look ahead to the future of the NFL by answering a simple question that's difficult to answer: Who are the best young players in the NFL? To answer that question, we decided...

The Secrets of a Linebacker

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By Andy Benoit -- Sports Illustrated

Saints linebacker Craig Robertson is one of those players who keeps finding his way onto the field. Undrafted in 2011 out of North Texas, he spent his first NFL season on Cleveland’s practice squad before getting a chance to become a situational backup and special teamer in 2012. He started three games for the Browns in 2012 and then 61 of his next 73 games, including 27 of 31 since signing with the Saints in 2016. Initially a safety in college, Robertson is a finesse linebacker with speed, though he’d never be confused for Deion Jones or Telvin Smith.

Guys like Robertson must play faster than their athleticism. That demands an aptitude for diagnosing plays. We think of this as reading and reacting, but for a linebacker, much of the game takes place before the snap, at the line of scrimmage. Watching his 2017 game against the Rams, Robertson showed me how he sniffs out plays before the snap.

Full Article -- Sports Illustrated

J.T. Barrett impresses Saints rookies with accuracy

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By James Parks

Sean Payton admitted that quarterback J.T. Barrett was “worthy” of being drafted this year after a record breaking career at Ohio State, though he eventually went unselected and ultimately signed a three year contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Now, Barrett finds himself last on a quarterback depth chart topped by Drew Brees and that features Taysom Hill as the presumptive backup and new addition Tom Savage, who signed with the team this offseason as a free agent at the No. 3 slot.

Barrett says his campaign to move up that ranking has already presented some challenges.

Full Article -- 247 Sports

Drew Brees surprises California teen with prosthetic leg: report

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By Brody Miller

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees gave a Southern California teenager a life-changing surprise Friday (May 11) when he surprised Alex Ruiz with a prosthetic leg.

The former San Diego Charger was at a Del Mar flag football event when he grabbed the microphone.
"Surprise," he shouted.

Brees gave Ruiz a walking prosthetic, then said once Ruiz gets the hang of it he will receive an athletic prosthetic to begin training with.

Ruiz suffered a severe leg injury while rolling out at quarterback and being tackled during an October 2017 game. The injury led to his foot being amputated.

Full Article -- Picayune

Why the New Orleans Saints Could Win it All, Part I: Offensive Line

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Like most position groups on the Saints, there is a young core to build around.

By Chris Dunnells

Bringing back a series of pieces from the past two years, we’re going to check each position group on the New Orleans Saints and discuss how they improve the Saints’ chances of making a run in 2018. Let’s start with the offensive line...

Pro Football Focus ranked all NFL offensive lines following the 2017 season, and the Saints came in 9th overall:

"While it was mostly the Saints defense that received praise for a surprisingly strong season, the New Orleans offensive line also performed above expectations and led the league with a pass-blocking efficiency rating of 84.6 while they allowed the fewest pressures in the entire NFL over the regular season (110). A lot has been made of the additions of Marshon Lattimore and Alvin Kamara...

Saints rookie Tre'Quan Smith gets attention from his new coaches

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By Amos Morale III

The New Orleans Saints held their rookie minicamp over the weekend and one of the players that impressed coaches was third-round pick Tre'Quan Smith.

Smith, a wide receiver out of UCF, caught passes thrown at him and showed off the speed that helped him average nearly 20 yards per catch this past season for the Golden Knights. But after the weekend's workouts, Smith said: "This is a different kind of fast."

Saints coaches however think he's doing a good job of adjusting to this level.

"First of all, he can run," Saints' receivers coach Curtis Johnson said. "He's fast. He has what we would call in this profession long speed. He can catch the ball very very well. He's pretty smart. He's getting lined up. He's only playing one position now but he's doing a fine job for us."

Full Article -- Picayune

Sean Payton says NFL’s targeting rule won’t result in more flags

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By James Parks

Targeting will come to the National Football League in 2018.

Among the new rules proposed by the league’s Competition Committee and eventually voted on by the 32 teams is a measure that forbids players from going into tackles with lowered helmets, in an effort to curb chronic head and brain injuries in players.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy explained the new rule, thus: “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. The player may be disqualified. Applies to any player anywhere on the field.”

The new infraction will cost the guilty team 15 yards and, if committed by a defensive player, will result in an automatic first down for the offensive team.

Immediately, the new rule came under heavy criticism, mostly from defensive players, including cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Josh Norman, among others, who argued that it would force tacklers to be so cautious as to result in missed or poorly executed tackles and dilute the quality of the game. ...

Full Story - 247 Sports

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