The New Orleans Saints opened their 2013 post-draft rookie minicamp yesterday, welcoming more than 70 players to a three-day weekend of practices, awkward but mildly amusing get-to-know-you icebreakers (aka orientation), classroom work with position coaches, hijinks, and pillow fights at the team's practice facility.
The Schedule and Who Gets to Watch
According to the official team release on this minicamp, there were two practices yesterday, two more will be held today, and then they close with one practice on Sunday. They will all be closed to the public, but in a preview piece written by Sheldon Mickles of the Baton Rouge Advocate, he hinted at some access that he'll enjoy (emphasis added, and more to come on his 'Five Things' later):
Here are five things Saints coaches could be looking for during the three-day camp, which is closed for the most part to media - except for a 30-minute window Saturday - and in its entirety to fans:
Damn my lack of access!!!! I wonder how exactly this will work. Who gets to look through the window first? How long do they each get to look? Will there be milk crates provided for those "vertically challenged" beat writers? What if not everyone gets a chance to have a turn at the window during those 30 minutes? What if it gets all fogged up after the first one looks in? I just hope and pray that the Saints staff and the clever media folks have done their prep work for this to go well.
UPDATE: According to Mike Triplett of the nola.com, the Saints have now decided that the rookie camp will be completely closed to everyone, with no media access at all. Rats! He also reports that the next scheduled media access time with the team is not until the OTA on May 23. CITATION
Who Gets To Play/Practice?
The Saints put out a 70-player roster of attendees this week (also in their official release), and working from that, I'm going to break it down for you by category of player...
Saints Rookie Draft Picks (who are also all under contract with the Saints - NICE WORK, Loo-Khai!!)
(5) - S Kenny Vaccaro, OT Terron Armstead, DT John Jenkins, WR Kenny Stills, and LB Rufus Johnson.
Saints Rookie Free Agents (undrafted rookies signed right after the draft)
(13) - QB Ryan Griffin; RB Shawne Alston; C Elliott Mealer; G Tim Lelito; TEs Josh Hill and Keavon Milton; DE Glenn Foster; LBs Eric Martin, Kevin Reddick, Ray Shipman, and Chase Thomas; and CBs Ryan Lacy and Rod Sweeting.
Bachelors Veterans (players under contract with the Saints who have not earned an accrued NFL season)
(7) - CBs A.J. Davis and Dion Turner, DE Braylon Broughton, G Ryan Lee, FB Austin Johnson, WRs Saalim Hakim and Andy Tanner.
Veteran Tryout Players (veterans, um, from other teams, who are um, being given a tryout?)
(15) - K Josh Jasper; QB John Beck; DE Eric Norwood; DBs Damein Anderson, Korey Lindsey, Nate Ness, Brandon Robinson, and Brandyn Thompson; LB Baraka Atkins; DL Brian Schaefering; Gs Quinn Ojinnaka, Jeremiah Warren; T Patrick Brown; C Cory Procter; and TE Ryan Deehan.
Rookie Tryout Players (rookies who are unsigned, but getting a tryout with the team)
(30) - P Dalton Botts; K Jose Maltos; LS Billy Johnson (son of Saints DL coach Bill Johnson); QB Jon Richt; WRs Duron Carter (son of Cris Carter - tried out for Vikes last week), Kyle Fisher, Charles Hawkins, La'Rod King, Brent Leonard, Khiry Robinson; RBs Nathan Hoyte and Eric Stephens; FB Taimi Tutogi; TE Andrei Lintz; OLs Lou Alexander and Blaize Foltz; G Tyler Deacon; DL Semisi Tokolahi; DT Josh Downs; LBs Joshua Lynn, Robert Maci, Bill McHale, Bill Ross, and Shaq Wilson; DBs Jermaine Robinson and Chantz Stevenson; Safeties Luke Anderson, Malcolm Bronson, Vaughn Carraway, and Wayne Warren.
Whew, that's a lot of camp bodies...the counselors and CITs had better work really hard at those "getting to know you" icebreakers.
What to Watch For
Monsieur Mickles came up with these Five Things (citation above):
1. Where will first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro line up?
2. Does Terron Armstead have a chance to start at left tackle?
3. Can massive John Jenkins help plug up the middle at defensive tackle?
4. Do the Saints have another small-school gem in Rufus Johnson?
5. Which undrafted free agents will impress?
Now, those are all good and well and dealing with real football stuff, but I'll be looking for answers to these burning questions:
Who is the best bed short-sheeter?
Will anyone pull the "hand in a bowl of warm water" howler of a prank? And will the turk visit this guy or the short-sheeter first? (Hazing will simply NOT BE TOLERATED because of player safety issues that the NFL is VERY CONCERNED about.)
Who can eat the most s'mores without barfing?
Will any player get a care package from his Mommy and Daddy this weekend?
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Be sure to stick around CSC for coverage of the ongoing coverage of the minicamp proceedings this weekend. Your CSC staff will be watching for info from the 30-minute window of media access, no matter how it comes. And drop into the thread with your comments and thoughts on this grand affair.
Thanks also to Larry Holder of the nola.com for HIS HELP in the creation of this post.