The New Orleans Saints concluded their 3rd Practice of their 2019 Training Camp a short while ago, and it was the team's defensive secondary that stood out above all else, as a mix of several rookie and veteran DB's made their presence felt while the squad dressed out in full gear with pads on for the very first time in Camp.
It also was the first time wearing full gear since their last time a several months ago in their heartbreaking NFC Championship Game loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Specifically, four players caught my eye: Veterans Eli Apple and Kayvon Webster. and rookie DB's Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Saquon Hampton.
Both Apple and Webster made a series of PBU''s (pass break-ups) in the team's 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills; while the two rookie draft picks from earlier this year in the "ball-hawk" Johnson and the equally-talented Hampton. made the very most of their defensive snaps in the one-on-one WR vs, DB drills that proceeded it.
Webster – who won the Super Bowl a few years ago with the Denver Broncos and also played for the Rams before tearing an Achilles Tendon and subsequently was released by Los Angeles – signed with the Saints earlier this off-season, and appeared to show no lingering or ill-effects from that injury.
And while he did get beaten in coverage a couple of times (most notably by undrafted WR Cyril Grayson, Jr, (more on him in a minute), Webster seems to have sufficiently healed enough to resume his NFL career with the Black and Gold. Now granted: it's only 3 days into Training Camp and there's still an entire slate of 4 Pre-Season games that are yet to be played next month before the Final Roster cuts on the 1st weekend of September.
But if you were to base it purely on the events of today's spirited and pad=popping Practice session, then Webster – the former star at the University of South Florida – seems to be well on the way to earning one of the team's final spots in the defensive secondary.
"PLAY OF THE DAY": THE BUTLER DID IT — ONCE AGAIN
For the 3rd time in as many days. undrafted rookie wide receiver Emmanuel Butler stood out yet once again; as he made another series of impressive catches in his bid to make the team's Final Roster. This time around. he caught a pass from back-up QB Taysom Hill along the left sideline, while stretching out his arms to secure the ball before his momentum took him out of bounds.
Butler's performance isn't really that surprising anymore to those covering the team; since the former "small school" superstar at Northern Arizona University has essentially been turning heads" throughout the off-season in both OTA's and the team's Mini-Camp back in mid-June.
And not to be outdone: fellow undrafted receiver and former LSU Track and Field star Cyril Grayson, Jr. continued his impressive performance and upward trend as of late, as he once again showed off the elite-caliber / world-class speed that could potentially earn him a Final Roster spot as well (and if nothing else: a guaranteed ?lock" to make the team's Practice Squad).
OTHER NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
Veteran tight end Jared Cook has also turned in 3 straight days of impressive performances; and literally was catching nearly every single pass that was thrown his way. He undoubtedly will make a HUGE impact for the team in the passing game in the upcoming season ahead, barring injury....
Rookie linebacker and 6th Round pick Kayden Elliss made a phenomenal interception on a tipped pass during team drills.....
Animated and extremely vocal new Special Teams Coordinator Darren RizziRUNNING in a full sprint down the field with his punt team defenders. while simultaneously yelling out encouragement to them to make the tackle on the punt returner....
Rookie tight end Alizé Mack getting some "words of wisdom" (and a possible "ass-chewing") from head coach Sean Payton, after he dropped a short pass from Drew Brees in 7-on-7 drills.....
The Saints will resume Practice in full pads again tomorrow and Tuesday Morning, before taking the day off on Wednesday and then returning back to Practice on Thursday.....