As of today, the New Orleans Saints are one of only three teams in the NFL who have yet to sign any of their draft prospects. The winner in the club house so far appear to be the Philadelphia Eagles who have signed 11 of their 13 draft choices. As of yet, no first round players have signed and only one second round player (Vladamir Ducasse of the NY Jets) has signed.
I'm curious how people feel about this particular issue with training camp closing in fast. As of right now none of the Saints draft picks were scheduled to start, however, several were expected to compete not only for playing time, but have a strong potential to push for major contributions. Because of this, perhaps the organization does not feel the pressure to get these rookies into camp as early as possible. I for one would strongly disagree with that assessment. Below I've listed out our rookies, and the importance i personally feel for each one getting in camp on time.
Patrick Robinson 1st rd Florida State, Corner Back - To be perfectly honest, i feel Robinson is the last rookie we need to push into camp on time, with the notable exception of Sean Canfield. The Saints possess two strong starting corners in Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter as well as veteran Randall Gay. Where i realize some people are not high on Gay, he is an excellent option as a third corner. With Darren Sharper still expected to start at free safety, that also leaves Malcolm Jenkins available for spot corner duty. There's no doubt that the preference would be for Robinson to take over nickel back duties, however, with experience and depth at that position, Robinson not being in camp from day one wouldn't be a disaster.
Charles Brown and Matt Tennant 2nd and 5th round, USC OT and BC C respectiviely - I've lumped both of these players together for the importance of depth in the offensive line. Charles Brown should immediately step into the 4th tackle spot behind Stinchcomb, Bushrod and Strief from day one. With added reps it is not inconceivable that Brown could even supplant Strief by the end of training camp assuming he lives up to his billing. I don't think anyone needs to be reminded of the importance of a backup bookend considering what happened last year. Brown was a late first round talent that thankfully slid into our laps at the end of the second round. Tennant immediately becomes the backup to starter Jonathan Goodwin and is a clear upgrade over the current backup in Leckey. His intelligence and versatility will also help added depth for backup guard. Tennant was raved to be one of the top centers in the draft, and was considered a steal by most everyone for the Saints in the fifth round. Expect Tennant to push for the starting position as early as next year. In all, it is because of the importance of what these two players could mean that i think they should be the second priority in getting into camp on time.
Jimmy Graham, third round, Miami TE - Jimmy Graham has the opportunity to learn the game from safety this year. He's considered by more than a few to be an extremely gifted athlete and pass receiver. However, due to his rawness at the position (only one year of college) he's expected to be a work in progress. It's necessary to get him into camp early to begin learning the position from Shockey and others, however, don't expect much playing time for him early on. The sooner into camp the better for Jimmy, however, due to his work in progress status he should be riding the pine and learning for the most part for much of the first half of the season.
Al Woods, fourth round, DT LSU - In my opinion young Al Woods is the Saints greatest priority to get into camp early. Currently on roster, the only true run stuffing DT we have is Remi Ayodele. Both Sed Ellis and Hargrove are penetrating DT's who aren't known for holding the point of attack. Al Woods would join the squad as one of the reserves with Hargrove and Pressley, however, Woods has the ability and the desire to win the early down starting job over Ayodele. The Saints were not good in the least at stopping the run last season. If Woods is able to get into camp on time, he could learn the run down duties of Williams' system and push for that starting run stuffer job and let Hargrove come in on passing downs for greater penetration. With OLB being an unknown entity going into this year, the necessity to get better against the run from our DLs is more important than ever.
Sean Canfield, seventh round, QB Oregon State - Canfield, for many reasons, should be the last priority for the Saints to get into camp on time. Canfield would currently sit third in the pecking order behind Brees and Daniels. All indications show that the Saints staff are quite high on Daniels' accuracy and ability to hold the backup position. There is all strong indication that the Saints will eventually bring in a veteran backup which would push Canfield to the 4th position on the depth chart. All signs point to Canfield either holding down the third spot behind Daniels, or as a practice squad arm for this upcoming season.