There's been a lot of chatter lately that the signing of free agent veteran fullback Korey Hall would mean the end of Heath Evans' tenure with the Saints. Hall is a converted linebacker that excels on special teams and many suggest his "jack of all trades" ability trumps what Evans can do well in one area.
Personally, I haven't seen Hall play much, but I also know he hasn't been a starter in the NFL. The Saints are devoid of any likely solution behind Hall, with Jed Collins and Kolby Hurt competing for the job. Who? Yeah, exactly. And before any of you suggest David Thomas is the solution, that's not his position. He's played there in a pinch, but if he's going to be the No. 2 tight end this year that's what he needs to be focused on, assuming the Saints even re-sign him.
With all this said, I firmly believe Heath Evans will be signing with the Saints in short order and will be back as the Saints starting fullback. Why? Because the competition he had in camp last year was even more significant.
Doesn't Hall sound an awful lot like Zak Keasey? Keasey was a veteran backup that played with the 49ers, and the Saints loved him. He did a terrific job in camp last year, was versatile, and, wait for it... he excelled on special teams.It was rumored that Keasey was the very last guy cut to make a 53-man roster last year. Did he beat out a bum knee Heath Evans for a roster spot at the time? No.
The Saints also carried Jason McKie along. McKie was a proven NFL starter that was purely a blocker, but again, even that competition wasn't enough to take away a roster spot from Heath Evans coming off massive knee surgery. My point is: Evans' knee is a year further along and the competition this year isn't as stiff as it was previously.
Furthermore, Evans' locker room presence is just too valuable. With no real veteran presence among the backs besides Pierre Thomas, the Saints need Evans as a good influence on the young stable of runners they have. Evans is battle tested, very high character, a vocal leader and the kind of guy you need around your team. Not to mention, there's already continuity there based on all the reps Evans took with the team this summer. That's right, he was at every single player organized practice. He's completely committed to the organization. Sean Payton knows that, and he's not about to let him slip in favor of a guy that has "special teams value." If that was the case, Zak Keasey would have been the Saints starter a year ago.
I write this to you guys on Tuesday morning, so for the record, if he signs Tuesday evening, don't say I didn't call it. Hardly a bold prediction I guess, but I did feel the need to express it given the talk by many that the Saints were moving on at fullback. Mark my words: Heath Evans will be re-signed and he'll be the starter at fullback come Week 1 against the Packers.
Do you agree?