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 cornerback Rod Sweeting and wide receiver Nick Toon.
So, with no more ado:
38 DAYS UNTIL ATLANTA!!!
#38 CB Rod Sweeting (2nd Year)
One of the fastest cornerbacks at last year's scouting combine, Rod Sweeting finished his college career with an impressive resume. In 54 games, tied for most in Georgia Tech history, he recorded 160 tackles and was named honorable mention all-Atlantic Coast Conference his junior season. Though he had only four interceptions during his college career, he made up for it with 28 pass breakups.
Although he was rated a mid- to late-round prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft, Sweeting slipped through the rounds and was eventually signed by the Saints after going undrafted. However, the speedy cornerback had secured a roster spot by the start of the regular season a few months later, and contributed on both defense and special teams for nine games and both postseason matches of his rookie season.
At 6 feet and 187 pounds, Sweeting has shown signs of being a strong tackler and hasn't been afraid to go against bigger receivers, though he could still use some work on his technique and fundamentals. The young defender has leaned on Keenan Lewis as a mentor, and is currently in training camp competing for more extensive playing time in the club’s secondary in addition to his continued contributions on coverage units.
3 yr(s) / $1,490,000. Average: $496,667 per year through 2015.
#88 WR Nick Toon (3rd Year)
The son of first-round draft pick and three-time Pro Bowl receiver Al Toon, who played for the Jets from 1985-92, Nick Toon was selected by the Saints out of the University of Wisconsin in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. After appearing only two preseason games, during which he recorded two receptions for six yards, the younger Toon suffered a season-ending foot injury.
Despite a standout college career -- 47 games with 31 starts, recording 171 catches for 2,447 yards and 18 touchdowns, and finishing his career ranked in the top five in Wisconsin history in all three categories -- the young receiver has yet to break out in the NFL. Last year, he played in eight games with three starts, and tallied four receptions for 68 yards. He was inactive for the other half of the season, and for both postseason contests.
Nick Toon's first career reception (18 yards) came during Week 4 last season, his second NFL game appearance. He was seeing snaps because Lance Moore was inactive with a wrist injury. Five weeks later, the young receiver was subbing for an inactive Marques Colston, who was out with a knee injury. In that Week 9 loss to the Jets, Toon led all Saints wideouts with 55 snaps and 43 routes run. However, he had no catches on four targets, dropped a perfectly thrown deep ball early in the game, and then had a pass clang off his hands for an interception by his father's former team later on. After that, Drew Brees appeared hesitant to throw the second-year man the ball.
Toon saw action in one more game, completing one pass for eight yards against San Francisco, and spent the rest of the season as a healthy inactive.
This training camp, the tall receiver is fighting for a chance to prove himself in his third year. The general consensus is that he is currently battling Robert Meachem and Joe Morgan to make the roster behind Marques Colston, Kenny Stills and rookie Brandin Cooks.
4 yr(s) / $2,507,612. Average: $626,903 per year through 2015