Training camp will be important to several players on the roster of the New Orleans Saints.
The team will open camp on Thursday July 24. Tt is a real test for every player, but the following guys have a special interest to me and I will be watching them closely.
Joe Morgan: A 2nd year man from tiny Walsh College, Morgan (6-1 184) has blazing speed and versatility. He had a super training camp last year as a rookie but it was cut short by injury. He is an exciting sparkplug who had several long catches and punt and kickoff returns in the 2011 pre-season.
Morgan hauled in a 56-yard scoring pass against the Texans and showed good route running skills all preseason. The touchdown was Morgan's second in as many games. He had a 78-yard punt return against the 49ers. Morgan played on special teams as a gunner on kick coverage as well. He has an excellent chance to make the roster this year.
Matt Tennant: A reserve center and guard, Tennant (6-4, 300) is a 3rd year man from Boston College.
This is an important year for Tennant if he is to stay on this football team. He was a 5th round draft choice in 2010 and needs to step up and make a move in this camp. He had his chance last season but was beaten out as the starting center by little-known Brian de la Puente, who had a fine season.
Turk McBride: The quick defensive end out of Tennessee can make a difference. With Will Smith suspended for the first four games, Turk will get his chance to shine. He has fine pass rush skills and played well early last season before sustaining an injury. He came to the Saints last season as an UFA from the Lions.
Entering his 6th NFL season, McBride will battle Cam Jordan, Junior Galette and former linebacker moved to defensive end Martz Wilson for snaps.
Martez Wilson: A third round selection from Illinois, Wilson (6-4, 255) has great talent. He is big and quick with pass rush ability. He will get a long look at the defensive end position as a speed pass rusher which the team really needs. Wilson is a stud who only needs to gain more experience to become an elite player in the NFL.
Brodrick Bunkley : The 6th year man from Florida State was a Saints off-season signing as an UFA from Denver. His main task is to stop the run and so far the coaching staff has been pleased with his work in Mini-Camp. Bunkley (6-2, 306) has had a solid NFL career and should help the team at a needed inside defensive line position.
David Hawthorne: The linebacker from TCU is versatile player who can project to the inside and outside linebacker position. An UFA addition from Seattle, Hawthorne (6-0, 246) will add depth behind starting middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, another UFA signing from the Falcons. With Jonathan Vilma suspended for the season, this is an important position to watch.
Position Battles of Note: The place kicking competition will be interesting to watch. Garrett Hartley, 26, is coming back from injury and I think its his job to lose, but 42-year old John Kasay had a very productive season last year and will be waiting for Hartley to open the door.
The backup safety position is up for grabs. Jonathon Amaya (6-2, 205) a 3rd year man obtained in a trade with the Dolphins for Reggie Bush, will battle Isa Abdul–Quddus (6-2, 205), a 2nd year pro from Fordham who played well at times last season as an UDFA rookie.
Sleeper Alert: Unknown free agent Brayton Broughton (6-6, 272), defensive end from TCU, is a prospect I have heard some good things about. We will see if he can turn athletic ability into production better than he did at the college level.
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