Layne Murdoch Jr./New Orleans SaintsASC Illustrations
I personally get really excited about Training Camp every year. But there’s something different about this go around. I don’t know if it’s because we were so close to a Super Bowl run last year or if it’s about the depth we possess going into to the season. Whatever it is, it’s got me hyped. So here are five of the many things that I”m personally looking forward to seeing during training camp. In the interest of time, I’ll be leaving some things off of this list so please share what you’re excited about as well.
Natrell Jamerson: Special Teams Standout
Here’s the thing, I’m a big fan of Natrell Jamerson and I’m rooting for him to solidify a space on the roster. One that puts him in the position to be a difference-maker from game-to-game. They’ve primarily been working the former Wisconsin wide receiver/defensive back at corner. Moving to corner gives him the opportunity to play in certain dime packages and backup one of our stellar cornerbacks. but he might be able to have an immediate impact as a special teamer. He an fellow rookie Kamrin Moore have a ton of experience in special teams. Though we won’t know for certain until the preseason games, Jamerson’s skills as a kick returner might begin to showcase themselves throughout training camp.
Can Alex Anzalone Get Back on Track?
Last year, the third-round draft pick out of Florida had really come on, making lots of plays at weakside linebacker. He continued to grow through the preseason and first three and a quarter games in 2017 before injuring his shoulder and missing the rest of the season. Anzalone has stated that he believes that his shoulder injuries are now a thing of the past, but we’ll only really know that to be true come February. My fingers are crossed that he’s right, though. Anzalone has incredible range at the linebacker position and his speed in concert with Demario Davis’s will be pivotal at the second level. The good news is that we have a ton of depth at linebacker this year. But seeing Anzalone get back on the grind and add his skill to a team expected to contend for a Super Bowl would be a invaluable.
Taysom Hill Runs for Backup 2018
Literally. This dude is incredible. He ended up being a “special teams demon” last year in the final quarter of the season and the playoff thanks to special teams coach Mike Westhoff. But this year, he’s competing with veteran Tom Savage and undrafted free agent rookie J.T. Barrett. We can safely assume that at least one of the three will be cut at roster trim. Hill actually has better mobility than Barrett, who’s entire college career rested on his legs.If he can put together the arm talent and veteran decision-making of Savage, there’s little reason to expect Taysom Hill won’t win the backup spot. Not to mention that Sean Payton is all about him. Can he be the next man up? If we’ve learned nothing else over the years, we’ve certainly learned that Coach Payton knows his stuff.
Will Clapp Geaux’s In
I still think that Will Clapp will end up being one of the Saints’ biggest steals this year. The consensus first-team All-SEC LSU team captain was taken in the seventh round by the Saints with their final pick in the draft. Despite his late draft position, he has the ability to become a fixture in the Saints offensive line for years to come. He could follow in the footsteps of the recently retired Zach Strief who was also drafted in the seventh round by the Saints in 2006. Clapp is versatile along the interior of the offensive line, a quality that the Saints coaching staff values greatly. He played his first two years at LSU at guard and transitioned to center his final year before entering the draft. I’m excited to see Clapp’s potential play out behind vets like Max Unger and Larry Warford and expect that he’ll prove a steal in the coming years.
Swag, Swag, Swag
The Saints were the most fun team to watch last season. Not just because of playmakers like Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, and so on, but also because they were an extremely entertaining bunch to watch have fun Sunday-to-Sunday. The amount of jubilation that came with watching a Saints game last year was equal parts due to their success as a unit and their immeasurable swagger. The photographs, the dances, the fun on the sideline, the broom in the locker room- all of it. It’s no secret that this team and its young core are exciting and will be a ton of fun to watch leading up to the season- not to mention the always entertaining QB Challenges. Michael Thomas has already blessed us with the perfect depiction of our mood heading into camp.