Saints training camp is finally underway and many key positions in the starting lineup are up for grabs. Battles across both sides of the ball are taking place as the days slowly inch toward final cuts and Canal Street Chronicles is here to take a look at every competition as New Orleans prepares for its season opener against Atlanta September 8th.
First-round pick Kenny Vaccaro is making it mighty hard for coaches not to start him at safety early on. Vaccaro made arguably the best play in training camp so far and has really shown his talent at various points throughout drills. Vaccaro is extremely better in pass coverage than veteran Roman Harper and will most likely start at the nickelback, but I would not be surprised if he takes over for Harper after what we’ve seen so far.
Harper is primarily a run-stuffing safety but Vaccaro plays a different style of football and his versatility will be the key to success in the Saints’ secondary this season. Roman Harper is the starter right now if he gets completely healthy but Vaccaro is making such a strong push that it wouldn’t shock me to see him penciled in as the one if he continues to make big plays in camp. Veteran Jim Leonhard has 110 games under his belt and gives the position some depth. Leonhard is fighting for a spot on the team after being signed by New Orleans in April and seems to have gotten on Rob Ryan's good sign as camp has progressed. Rafael Bush has also taken some reps with the first team and will most definitely see the field in Ryan's diverse 3-4 scheme. With Ryan using as many as four safeties at one time this is one competition that will have a lot of winners when the Saints preseason starts August 9th.
Edge: Kenny Vaccaro