The New Orleans Saints wrapped up their second round of organized team activities on Thursday, with the afternoon practice open to the media for the first time this week. Here are some updates from today's practice...
Just two days after offically sealing his return to the Saints, Jonathan Goodwin was on the practice field and taking snaps with the 2nd team. Tim Lelito worked with the 1st team. Goodwin told reporters that part of the reason he has been brought back into the fold in New Orleans is to help mentor 2nd year pro Lelito, a former undrafted player out of Grand Valley State. Jonathan Goodwin will compete with/mentor Tim Lelito. In addition, Goodwin will compete with Lelito for the vacant starter's position.
"This team will be straight at Center," said Goodwin.
Cadet In Focus
Several media members noted that RB Travaris Cadet got plenty of work throughout Thursday's practice. Though the backfield is well-stocked ahead of him, Cadet has been touted as a possible plug-and-play alternative in the aftermath of Darren Sproles's departure, via trade to Philadelphia. Cadet is not as diminutive in stature as Sproles, but does possess the characteristics to be an effective playmaker as a perimeter runner and receiver out of the backfield.
The Saints' staff is very high on Cadet, and believes he can thrive in that role, while Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson handle more traditional duties.
High On Lorig
Coach Sean Payton spoke highly of Fullback Erik Lorig in his post-practice media session. Payton said Lorig caught the team's eye as he helped pave the way for the rushing attack of the Saints' NFC South rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. Lorig, who can play Tight End in a pinch, was signed after the team decided not to tender Jed Collins.
Rookie Runs With The 1's
ESPN's Mike Triplett observed rookie 2nd round pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste getting some valuable reps with the 1st team defense on Thursday. The team's 2nd round draft choice out of Nebraska, Jean-Baptiste figures to be worked into the pro game slowly, surrounded by the likes of Keenan Lewis, Champ Bailey, Corey White and Patrick Robinson. Nevertheless, the rookie seems to be in line for a potential role in nickel and dime packages. Saints coaches do not view Jean-Baptiste as a raw project, but as an athletic cover-man who they can count on.
Per Triplett, the play of the Saints secondary as a unit was one of the more impressive parts of Thursday's session.
-WR Joe Morgan is still not 100% recovered from his knee injury, but the speedster has been present at OTAs and worked out on the side along with fellow WR Steve Hull. Morgan says he will be ready for training camp. Re-signed to a one-year deal in March, Morgan hopes to build off of a 2012 season which saw him show promise as a deep-threat capable of breaking the top off of opposing secondaries. Knee injuries have been a problem for Morgan, who averaged a whopping 37.9 ypc two years ago, and avoiding any setbacks throughout camp will be important for him.
-Jairus Byrd remained sidelined following the minor back procedure he underwent a week ago, but the former Bills Safety is still on track to be ready for training camp in late July, according to coach Sean Payton.
-Defensive Tackles John Jenkins and Tyrunn Walker again sat out with undisclosed injuries.
-First round draft choice Brandin Cooks remains absent while he waits for his school, Oregon State, to conclude it's last quarter. Per rules, rookies can not partake in team activities until after their universities have held graduation ceremonies.
The Saints will hold a mandatory three-day minicamp next week (June10-12) and will conduct their third and final slate of OTAs on June 16-19.