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New Orleans Saints Undrafted Rookie Profile: Keith Kirkwood

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An inspirational story could bring underrated talent to the New Orleans receiving corps.

By Bob Rose

The New Orleans Saints have one of the best young wide receivers in the league in Michael Thomas. The rest of the Saints wideouts, however, struggled at times a year ago. Veteran Ted Ginn Jr. had one of the best years of his career in his first season as a Saint, but Brandon Coleman, Willie Snead, and Tommylee Lewis were inconsistent in their production. Snead departed as a free agent this past offseason, but New Orleans signed productive wideout Cameron Meredith away from the Chicago Bears, then used a 3rd round pick on Central Florida's Tre'quan Smith. One other name to look for as a potential contributor in 2018 is the subject of today's undrafted rookie profile.

Keith Kirkwood, WR (Temple)

Kirkwood, like many players, began playing football as a young boy, but basketball was his first love. He led his Neptune High School basketball team to the New Jersey state finals as a junior. He then returned to the gridiron his senior season, earning a scholarship offer to the University of Hawaii, where he scored 4 touchdowns on 12 catches in seven games with the Rainbow Warriors. He left Hawaii after his freshman year, enrolling with Temple after the death of a close friend, and also wanting to be closer to his daughter Aria. Kirkwood received a medical redshirt in 2015, then blossomed...

Carnell invited to Saints minicamp

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By Jeff McIntyre

The former North Alabama cornerback waited patiently to hear from an NFL team after the draft ended Sunday. Just when it seemed as if nothing was going to happen for Carnell he received a call from the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, inviting him to their rookie minicamp next week.

“I had not heard from anybody, so it was a little discouraging until I got that call,” Carnell said. “It didn’t happen when I wanted, but it is all on God’s timing. My family really supported me and I kept praying. I just wanted a chance to get my foot in the door and now I’ve got it.”

Carnell started at cornerback for the Lions the past two seasons after transferring from Grossmont College. The San Diego native recorded 36 tackles, intercepted two passes and broke up 12 during his junior season. As a senior, Carnell recorded first-team All-Gulf South Conference honors after making 28 tackles, intercepting four passes and breaking up eight passes.

Full Article -- Times-Daily

Saints sign undrafted free agents J.T. Gray, Colton Jumper

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By Amos Morale III, | The Times-Picayune

The New Orleans Saints signed undrafted free agents J.T. Gray and Colton Jumper, according to the league transaction report posted Thursday (May 3).

Gray is a 6-foot, 202-pound defensive back out Mississippi State who played in 45 games, starting 17, through his four-year career at Mississippi State. He finished his Bulldogs career with 65 tackles, eight pass break-ups, an interception and a forced fumble in his senior year.

Full Article -- Picayune

Saban: Mark Ingram just as competitive on golf course

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Duane Rankin, Montgomery Advertiser

Nick Saban had somewhere to be, but golf partner Mark Ingram wasn’t having it.

Saban was recounting when he and Ingram finished second to Georgia Tech pair Paul Johnson and Jon Berry in the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge at Reynolds Lake Oconee Resort outside Atlanta.

“We were in the playoff with Georgia Tech to win on about the fifth extra hole,” Saban said. “I said, ‘Mark, this is my last hole. I have to go speak.’ There are whole load of people at the plane and they’re all calling every five minutes saying, ‘We’ve got a 1,000 people you got to speak to tonight. We’re going to be late.’”

Full Article -- Montgomery Advertiser

New Orleans Saints 2018 NFL Draft: Why Taysom Hill Is the Winner

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By Dean Mullen

Make no mistake, Taysom Hill has to feel pretty good going into the 2018 season. He will undoubtedly have to beat out Tom Savage to win the backup job. Also, with the acquisition of J.T. Barrett, it’s likely to be a battle for that backup position. Nevertheless, Hill has the coaches’ eyes and some experience being with the team for a solid year.

The fact that the Saints didn’t select a quarterback, has to instill some confidence in Hill. Surely, Who Dat Nation was salivating in round one, when the Saints traded up to move to the 14th overall pick. The thought was that the Saints were going to pick a quarterback. That’s the usual scenario when a team moves up and gives up a couple of draft picks.

Full Article -- LWOS

Saints draft: Boom or bust? Only time will tell!!

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NEW ORLEANS -- No question that after last year’s bountiful draft for the New Orleans Saints, the 2018 version of let’s take a chance would be scrutinized in a way that no other draft would be.

No matter who the Saints chose this year, the comparison to 2017 would be made, even though none of the players selected starting last Thursday had even taken a snap in the NFL.

So, how did the Saints do in this year’s installment? That all depends on who you ask. The range of grades looks like the report card of a seventh grader going through the change to adulthood: it is all over the map.
ESPN gave the Saints a C+, putting New Orleans just above average.

Bleacher Report, without providing any explanation with its rankings, gave the Saints a D, the lowest in the league along with Oakland and Seattle.
Yahoo and USA Today agreed with Bleacher Report and also rated the New Orleans draft as being D worthy. However, both and CBS Sports had the Saints with a grade of B.

The biggest move of the draft for New Orleans came very early. The Saints made a bold move in the first round Thursday, trading next year’s first-rounder to move up and take Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport, a player who filled a need for a pressure player at the right defensive end spot the Saints have been trying to fill long-term for years...

Latest Saints News

What should the Saints do with Eli Apple?

  • News source: Andrew_Bell
  • Replies: 0
About eight weeks into the 2019 season, the question “Should the Saints re-sign Eli Apple?” would’ve likely resulted in more yea’s than nay’s from Saints fans.

So much can change in another half of a season.

After ending the year on a sour note, including poor performances combined with a late-season injury, Apple’s future with New Orleans is pretty clouded at the moment.

At the beginning of the year, the Saints decided to decline the fifth-year option for over...
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Ranking the NFL rookie classes from 1-32: Which team produced most?

  • News source: - New Orleans Saints
  • Replies: 0
The ability to get production from players on rookie contracts is one of the biggest competitive edges NFL teams can create. It is easier to do that with a wealth of draft capital near the top of the board, of course, but it's important how much a team can get from its draft picks relative to where they were taken rather than just blindly adding together all the production from the class.

If Player X and Player Y have similar seasons, the production from Player Y...
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Saints G.M.: Taysom Hill’s “unique” skills make contract talks different

  • News source: Darin Gantt
  • Replies: 1
The Saints have a one-of-a-kind player in Taysom Hill, so they fully expect his future contract talks to be something other than ordinary.

The quarterback/special teamer/gadget play specialist is entering restricted free agency this offseason, and with the uncertainty around the future of starting quarterback Drew Brees, it makes for a complicated calculation for them.

“In terms of valuing and contract and all that, that remains to be seen,” Saints General Manager...
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Fleur-de-Links, January 23: Drew Brees needs to “decompress,” Mickey Loomis wants to keep him, and Lamar Jackson meets Brees’s sons

  • News source: Adam Dunnells
  • Replies: 0
Drew Brees says there is no time table for an announcement on if he will return or not, saying that he needs to take time to “decompress.”

Mickey Loomis makes no secret of the fact that he would like Drew Brees to return in 2020.

Loomis says that the Saints are starting over and “nothing that we did last season is going to carry over to next season.”

Lamar Jackson played catch with all 3 of Brees’s sons.

USA Today names Saints’s Super Bowl victory in 2010 the...
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Senior Bowl practice notes: Getting a feel for the superlatives

  • News source: Al Dupuy
  • Replies: 0
A busy and important week is underway in Mobile as practices for the Senior Bowl lead up to the game Saturday.

The tallest player at the Senior Bowl this year is offensive tackle Alex Taylor out of South Carolina at 6-foot-8 1/2.

On the other end of the spectrum, the shortest player is running back Jamycal Hasty out of Baylor at 5-8.

The heaviest? Tyre Phillips, an offensive guard out of Ole Miss, showed up at 342 pounds. Lightest? Dane Jackson, a cornerback from...
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Saints will be patient as QB Brees mulls future

  • News source: - New Orleans Saints
  • Replies: 0
MOBILE, Ala. -- Drew Brees said he won't make a decision anytime soon on whether he is coming back for a 20th season at age 41. But New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said the Saints "obviously" want him back.

Brees is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. But the quarterback made it clear the most recent time he was a free agent in 2018 that he has no desire to test the open market and will remain in New Orleans as long as he decides to keep...
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Report: Saints QB Drew Brees taking time to 'decompress' with family before making 2020 decision

  • News source: Staff report
  • Replies: 0
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' contract is up in March and he has a crucial choice ahead of him — stay in the NFL and play a 20th season at 41 years old, or retire.

While the the league's all-time passing yards and passing touchdowns leader previously said he wants to retire on his own terms following the Saints' heartbreaking loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card round of this...
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Taysom Hill is unique, and that might require a unique approach in contract negotiations

  • News source: BY LUKE JOHNSON | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
MOBILE, Ala. — There is not much of a precedent for the way the New Orleans Saints used Taysom Hill in 2019, and therefore that might make what comes next a little tougher than usual to pin down.

In addition to the 287 special teams snaps he played — ranking fourth on the team — Hill played at least 20 offensive scrimmage snaps at five distinct positions in the Saints offense. Though he is listed as a quarterback, he finished the season with seven total touchdowns...
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Saints GM Mickey Loomis reflects on 'high expectations' for 2020: 'we're starting from ground zero'

  • News source: BY AMIE JUST | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
MOBILE, Ala. — The curtain has closed on the 18th season for New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, and Wednesday he called the 2019 campaign a success, even though the team lost another heartbreaker in the playoffs.

"I’m not gonna look back and say, ‘Hey, because we lost to a really good team in the playoffs that we were unsuccessful,’ ” Loomis said. "I think we were successful. I’m excited about our team. I’m excited about our players and our coaches...
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Saints GM Mickey Loomis on Drew Brees: 'If he wants to be back, then we'll go from there'

  • News source: BY LUKE JOHNSON | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
MOBILE, Ala. — New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis could really only make two things clear about the potential return of quarterback Drew Brees for a 20th NFL season in 2020.

First: Any definitive answers about Brees coming back would be up to Brees and Brees alone.

Second: The Saints would “obviously” welcome Brees’ return if that is what he decides to do, Loomis said. And if that is the case, the 41-year-old signal caller will require a new contract...
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Lamar Jackson starstruck meeting Drew Brees, Brees’s son starstruck meeting Jackson

  • News source: Michael David Smith
  • Replies: 0
NFL players increasingly choose to sit out the Pro Bowl, but one of the reasons some players still participate is the opportunity to spend time with the colleagues they respect the most. For Drew Brees and Lamar Jackson, the mutual respect has been evident this Pro Bowl week.

Brees posted a picture on social media of his son wearing Ravens colors, with a message for Jackson.

“Lamar, my son Baylen is looking for you at Pro Bowl this week. You are his guy! He’s...
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Saints want Drew Brees back for as long as he wants to play

  • News source: Charean Williams
  • Replies: 0
Drew Brees‘ future is as uncertain as it has been since perhaps 2006 when he was a free agent coming off shoulder surgery and searching for a new home. The Saints have made it clear, though, that they want the quarterback as part of their team as long as he wants to keep playing.

“No different than it’s been the last few years,” Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.

Brees, though, becomes a free agent in March, and he turned 41 last...
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Saints 2019 Year in Review: Latavius Murray

  • News source: Don Kellum
  • Replies: 0
Latavius Murray signed a four-year $14.4 million contract this past offseason to help fill the role of departing fan favorite Mark Ingram. While no one expected Murray to replace Ingram, his inconsistent usage left many fans frustrated and wanting to see more.

The numbers:

It seemed to take awhile for Murray to find his footing in the running game as he only averaged 5.3 carries per game through the first six games. It wasn’t until week 7 when Alvin Kamara was...
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Saints 2019 Year in Review: Wil Lutz

  • News source: Chris Dunnells
  • Replies: 0
Maybe not since the days of John Carney’s first stint with the Saints have New Orleans fans been able to feel as confident in the quality of their place kicker as they do with Wil Lutz. By all accounts, Lutz had the best year of his four-year career, signing a five-year contract extension before the season and making his first Pro Bowl during the year. Lutz also set a career long mark with a 58-yard field goal that he drilled to beat the Houston Texans way back in...
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