As we count down from 50 days until the New Orleans Saints begin their regular season in Atlanta, on September 7th, we're getting to know a little bit about those players who have signed on to bring home another Lombardi trophy.
Today, we take a brief look at veteran fullback Erik Lorig and rookie linebacker Kasim Edebali, both of whom are hoping to take the field with the Saints for the first time this season.
So, with no more ado:
41 DAYS UNTIL ATLANTA!!!
#41 (FB) Erik Lorig (5th year, 1st year with Saints)
Selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Erik Lorig was courted by several teams -- including Tampa Bay, who reportedly wanted him back -- before agreeing to a four-year deal with the Saints this March.
Lorig began his college career as the Stanford offense's blocking tight end, often lining up in the backfield as an H-back/Fullback. He was then asked by his coaches to switch to defensive end his junior year. After being drafted by the Bucs, he then switched from defensive end back to fullback/tight end before making his NFL debut in October of his rookie year.
In his four seasons with the Buccaneers, he played in 56 games (starting 24 at fullback and tight end), and was the lead blocker for two 1,000-yard rushers, Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount, while catching 30 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. After New Orleans chose not to tender fullback Jed Collins, Lorig signed a four-year contract with the Saints. Although he has never carried the ball, nor is he one of the best blockers in the league, his pass-catching skills give the Saints offense more versatility than his predecessor as a receiver.
4 yr(s) / $4,800,000. Average: $1,200,000 per year through 2017.
#91 (OLB) Kasim Edebali (Rookie)
One of 38 players who tried out for the team during mini-camp in May, Kasim Edebali was one of the few who earned a trip to the New Orleans Saints training camp. The native of Hamburg, Germany, arrived in the United States in 2007 as part of the USA Football International Student Program.
Although he had played American football as a tight end in Germany, Kasim spoke limited English. After playing at Kimball Union Academy (Meriden, N.H.) for two years, as part of the USA Football International Student Program, he enrolled at Boston College and redshirted as a freshman in 2009. Edebali played in 49 games at Boston College, recording 166 tackles (88 solo), 11 sacks, 24.5 tackles for a loss, 15 pass defenses, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. As a senior in 2013, he had 67 tackles (36 solo), two fumble recoveries, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and five passes defensed. He was also a Team Captain, and was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team by the coaches and All-ACC third-team honors by the media.
A draft analysis by NFL.com described Edebali as a "high-motor, effort-based pass rusher who could warrant developmental consideration as a situational 4-3 rush end or stand-up 3-4 linebacker. ... is not a natural, physically gifted hunter, but football smarts, competitiveness and effort give him a chance." Making the roster on Rob Ryan's formidable defense will be a difficult task, though the New Orleans coaching staff clearly saw something worthwhile in him.
3 yr(s) / $1,530,000. Average: $510,000 per year through 2016.