Saints Rookies Hitting Their Stride in Weeks 5-8: Rookie Run-Down

Leaving the competition in the dust! - Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Solid play from the Saints' 2013 draft class, plus an undrafted rookie making some noise! The Saints front office continues to find late round and undrafted gems. Did they finally hit in the first round as well?

Hello Saints faithful, welcome to the Rookie Run-Down: Week 5-8 reviews. With the New Orleans Saints sitting pretty atop the NFC South, the team is in the driver’s seat for post season aspirations. The boys in Black & Gold sandwiched 2 wins and 1 loss around the bye week to earn a 6-1 record. Let’s take a look at the contributions of our rookie draft class and one undrafted free agent who is making a name for himself. That’s right, this week we add Khiry Robinson to the mix. I can’t hate on the player, he is definitely ballin’ in the mix, making the most of his opportunities!

Kenny Vaccaro, Safety


Kenny Vaccaro

#32 / Safety / New Orleans Saints

6-0

214

Feb 15, 1991

Texas

From the moment the first round draft discussions opened on CSC, I spoke out on my support of drafting Kenny Vaccaro in the first round. Personal feelings aside (I am a big time Texas Longhorn supporter), I felt that Vaccaro would be instrumental in bringing some swagger back to the defense along with solid talent. He has not disappointed!

Week 5-8 Performance: In week 5 versus Chicago, Vaccaro tallied 6 solo tackles and his first sack of the season as Rob Ryan dialed up some nice safety heat for a change of pace. Vaccaro’s solid performance was followed up with 2 solo tackles and 4 assisted against New England and continued to bring the wood with some nice hard tackles. In week 8 against an over-matched Buffalo team, he remained active with 4 solo tackles and a pass defense. One item of note is Vaccaro’s coverage skills, which have not necessarily measured up to its billing.I believe due to the level of competition he is facing. To date he has recorded: 37 total tackles, 4 passes defended, 1 interception, and 1 sack.

Terron Armstead, Tackle


Terron Armstead

#72 / Offensive Tackle / New Orleans Saints

6-5

304

Jul 23, 1991

Arkansas-Pine Bluff


Armstead is still not being used, but that’s a good thing! The underlying sentiment is that while Armstead has the potential to be awesome, we’d rather not force him to do so this year.

Week 5-8 Performance: Inactive/DNP

John Jenkins, Nose Tackle


John Jenkins

#92 / Nose Tackle / New Orleans Saints

6-3

359

Jul 11, 1989

Georgia



Jenkins was a steal in the third round! With a great opportunity to start in a few games early, he has made the most of it and performed quite nicely. The return of Broderick Bunkley will stymie Jenkins’ stat-line, but those with a decent football IQ can identify his impact in the middle.

Week 5-8 Performance: Against the Bears, Jenkins chipped in 1 tackle, but was helpful in keeping Chicago’s ground game (94 yards rushing, 27 by Jay Cutler) mostly in check. The next week against New England turned out to be a dud as Jenkins tallied a goose egg in all statistical categories except participation. The ‘Big Man’ then followed the bye week with a 1 tackle performance against the Bills, as he shared snaps with Bunkley for the first time since week 1. Jenkins season totals: 11 tackles, 8 solo.

Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver


Kenny Stills

#84 / Wide Receiver / New Orleans Saints

6-0

194

Apr 22, 1990

Oklahoma


Yeah buddy, looks like Joe Morgan will have some very strong competition when camp rolls around in 2014. Stills has been a very productive late round pick who is developing a chemistry with Brees that could be deadly in the playoffs. Establishing himself as a true receiving threat, Stills has proven to be ‘more’ than Lance 2.0.

Week 5-8 Performance: Despite 2 games this season in which Stills has provided 0 statistics besides targets, the young wide out has accumulated similar statistics to 2012 sensation Morgan. The upside to this? The Saints are just short of mid-season, plenty of time for the numbers to keep rolling in. Versus Chicago, Stills was a total non-factor, then went to New England and came up with a great go ahead TD late (we know how that one ended, moving on). Stills remained hot after the bye week by reeling in his second and third TDs of the year. On the first TD, he was what us guys in the Madden community call Kim Kardashian legs: WIDE OPEN! for a 69 yard catch and run. Stills 2013 totals: 13 receptions, 327 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 carry for 4 yards.

Rufus Johnson, Linebacker

Strange occurrences at the linebacker position have me wondering what the Saints have planned for Johnson. The release of Martez Wilson was obviously to bring up Ryan Griffin from lying vulnerable to being pillaged. But could there be some long term plan for Johnson? Only time will tell…

Week 5-8 Performance: Practice Squad, DNP

Khiry Robinson, Running Back


Khiry Robinson

#29 / Running Back / New Orleans Saints

6-0

220

Dec 28, 1989

West Texas A&M

A strong pre-season put Khiry on the Who Dat Nation map. Even before Mark Ingram began to miss time with an injury, Robinson’s name was tossed around as a guy who could do better. How could you not root for the guy who said this before his first preseason game: "Just getting all my assignments done. Try to be perfect. Pick up every block, run every route right, hit the right hole and finish all my runs. Basically just finish everything and do everything right." (www.neworleanssaints.com). In spite of his strong preseason efforts, Robinson remained low on the depth chart at his position. However, when opportunity knocked, Mr. Unpronounceable (what up Stu?!) answered with some solid production.

Week 5-8 Performance: Robinson has not disappointed and has provided his supporters with evidence that he can be a good NFL running back. Sporting the departed Chris Ivory’s jersey number, hair-do, and running style, Khiry has shown that he is a tough runner who fights for every yard. The new #29 has also shown that he can remain healthy, despite his punishing, mad-at-the-grass totes of the rock each week. Robinson’s 2013 stats: 33 carries, 144 yards, and 1 TD.

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