The 2013 NFL Draft class turned out several highly-picked safeties: Kenny Vaccaro, who the New Orleans Saints chose not to re-sign after several season-ending injuries and suspensions; Eric Reid, who filed a collusion grievance after a free agent visit with Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown went sour; and Matt Elam, who the Baltimore Ravens released due to several charges were leveled against him and dropped last summer.
Vaccaro and Reid are still free agents, but Elam will reportedly be attending the Saints’ rookie minicamp sessions this weekend on a tryout basis per the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune later confirmed the report. Elam never lived up to his draft status in Baltimore, posting just one interception and eight pass breakups in his 41-game career, but maybe the Saints see something they like in the 26-year old athlete.
The Saints will also be trying out former Atlanta Falcons safety Sharrod Neasman, who worked out for the Kansas City Chiefs recently. Neasman is a decent athlete who starred on special teams coverage units last year, though he rarely saw the field on defense - 184 of his 190 snaps played last season came on special teams.
It’s interesting that the Saints are continuing to evaluate safeties after selecting starters Marcus Williams and Vonn Bell in the second round of each of their draft classes, signing Kurt Coleman once the Carolina Panthers released him back in early March, and targeted Natrell Jamerson in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen clearly still values the versatility of the position.
While teams title these post-draft practices as rookie minicamps, it’s fairly standard practice for NFL veterans to be invited on a tryout basis the way Elam and Neasman will be. Recent Saints signings who first earned reps at minicamps include defensive lineman Darryl Tapp, running back Trey Edmunds, and offensive lineman Khalif Barnes. Maybe the Saints can find one more diamond in the rough.