The Saints are now over two weeks into training camp and have a pre-season game in the books. With each passing day the final roster picture becomes more clear as players fight it out for spots and move up and down the depth chart. Some players have really sparkled and made the most of their opportunities, while others continue to hurt their chances of being one of the final 53. Following is a list of Saints players who I feel have made some big jumps or taken some big falls over the last two weeks. Let me know whether you agree.
With the four-game suspensions of Will Smith and Charles Grant, the door is wide open for Hargrove to earn a starting spot in their absence. Anthony is coming off a year long suspension himself and surely doesn't want to blow this great opportunity and possibly a last chance. So far, he's done everything right to win over players, coaches and fans. His hustle downfield to block for Vilma on Friday night is a perfect example of that. Payton has said there is always the possibility of remaining the starter after Grant and Smith serve their suspensions but at the very least, Hargrove makes for great depth.
Anytime you fumble the ball twice while battling it out with three other backs for one spot, your stock is going to drop. You just can't do that. The rest of his stats from Friday night's game are unimpressive as well. Fifteen carries for forty-eight yards, a 3.2 yards per carry average and a long run of only nine yards. That's not how Pierre Thomas earned his spot on this team. Crappy offensive line blocking or not, he'll need to create his own breaks.
Where did this kid come from? Harper has continued to make the most of his opportunities and put up impressive numbers, yet remains a relative unknown. He followed up his solid peformance at the Black and Gold scrimmage with two catches for forty-eight yards against Cincinnati. Harper still may not make the team as a result of a numbers game but if any receiver is going to surprise, he appears to be the one. I'd really like to see him get a shot with the first team and then watch what he can do.
I couldn't believe it was possible for David's stock to drop any lower, even in this economy, so applaud JD for doing what many thought couldn't be done. Jeff Duncan claims that 124 of the Bengals 233 passing yards in the first half of Friday's game came against David. Ugh. When will the Saints have the balls to put an end to this abusive relationship?
Things started a little shaky for Garrett this weekend when he missed a 20-yard chip shot during Friday night's game. It got worse when Hartley lost his job for the first four games thanks to his late-night pill popping ala Jesse Spano from Saved by the Bell. His seat is getting quite hot indeed. But he still has a chance to prove that he is valuable enough to have around and worth keeping through his suspension. He's off to a good start, going 3 for 3 during yesterday's practice.
Prioleau looked quick and aggressive during the first pre-season game but it shouldn't surprise anyone to see him finding success here in New Orleans. Having followed Gregg Williams his entire career, this system is not new to him. I don't think he'll earn a starting spot but he's a definite to make the team and it's a relief to know the Saints have some depth at safety.
The young linebacker snagged himself an interception against the Bengals, thanks to the help of Malcolm Jenkins.Combine that with all the other positive talk we've been hearing about Casillas this camp and I think it's safe to say he's doing all of the right things to earn a spot on this team. He grindin'.