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FILM STUDY

Nick Underhill’s Film study: Good instincts, flexibility clearly why Saints coveted Vonn Bell, but one big question ahead

Ohio State's Vonn Bell (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Vonn Bell doesn’t make life easy for opposing quarterbacks. He’s not ripping across the field, flying around to swat down and intercept passes. He possesses 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, but his approach is more nuanced than that. It’s technical and tactical. Watch him. He likes to sit back, read the quarterback and… Continue reading →

Nick Underhill: Saints make smart move by locking up Terron Armstead now instead of later

New Orleans Saints tackle Terron Armstead (72) walks on the field in the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New England Patriots in New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

New Orleans isn’t a quiet place. It touts its greatest treasures, and people flock here to take part in the numerous festivities and culture. Brass bands. Mardi Gras. The French Quarter. These things, by nature, are loud. And the food? Locals and visitors alike make sure to mention it whenever the city comes up. There isn’t… Continue reading →

Meet 19 undrafted rookie free agents Saints add to squad

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Dominique Tovell runs the forty yard dash during Pro Day on Wednesday at the Moncla Indoor Practice Facility. Pro Day allows NFL team scouts to check out the abilities hopeful Ragin' Cajun football players looking to get drafted.

The Saints worked the market of undrafted players hard to acquire a handful of players to compete for roster spots during training camp. The team announced on Monday it signed 19 rookie free agents following the draft. The largest areas of focus were on the offensive line and the defensive backfield. On the offensive line, the team added BYU… Continue reading →

Nick Underhill’s analysis: Saints’ selection of David Onyemata reinforces a key point: Don’t rush to judgment on draft picks

Photo provided by Manitoba  Sports Information Department -- The New Orleans Saints selected Manitoba defensive tackle David Onyemata at No. 120 overall in the draft on Saturday April 30, 2016.

The draft, by nature, is a market full of unknown commodities. You can work to eliminate some of the guesswork and come to what seems like a sensible conclusion. You can rule things out and side with other things you like. But you walk away with a stack of mystery boxes, and it will take a few… Continue reading →

Saints draft notebook: Cal RB Daniel Lasco is team’s fifth and final pick

Cal running back Daniel Lasco

The New Orleans Saints finished their draft class Saturday by taking California running back Daniel Lasco with their fifth and final pick, a seventh-round selection. Lasco faces a crowded Saints backfield that already includes Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, Marcus Murphy and Travaris Cadet, leaving Lasco looking at an uphill battle to get carries. But… Continue reading →

David Onyemata’s remarkable journey from Nigeria to the NFL lands Canadian star in New Orleans

University of Manitoba Bisons defensive tackle David Onyemata runs a drill for NFL scouts in Winnipeg, Man. Monday March 14, 2016. Brian Donogh/Winnipeg Sun/Postmedia Network

Five years ago, a soft knock at his office door interrupted Brian Dobie’s phone conversation. The University of Manitoba football coach turned to his left and immediately forgot about the phone call. A massive young man loomed in his doorway like an eclipse, a man Dobie instantly found himself hoping was a prospect he’d never met.… Continue reading →

At a glance: David Onyemata, the Saints’ fourth-round pick

West defensive end James Cowser (53), of Southern Utah, and defensive end David Onyemata (97), of Manitoba, sack East quarterback Jake Rudock (10), of Michigan, during the fourth quarter of the East West Shrine football game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Defending for the East is Taylor Fallin (77) of Memphis. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

David Onyemata, DT, University of Manitoba Height: 6-4 Weight: 300 Round: 4 Pick: 120 WHO HE IS: Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Onyemata had never played football before he moved to Canada five years ago, although he had heard of the sport from classmates who spent time in the United States. Onyemata moved to… Continue reading →

At a glance: Daniel Lasco, Saints’ seventh-round pick

Cal running back Daniel Lasco

Height: 6-0, Weight: 209, Round: 7, Pick: 16 (237) Who is he: Born and raised in The Woodlands, Texas, a suburb of Houston, Lasco is a two-time team captain at California who rushed for 1,115 yards, caught 33 passes for 356 yards and scored 12 touchdowns as… Continue reading →

Keep track of all the Saints' post-draft signings

A list of players who are signing with the Saints:

OL Ryker Mathews, BYU
CB De’Vante Harris, Texas A&M
G Landon Turner, North Carolina
WR Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
CB Ken Crawley, Colorado
OT Avery Young, Auburn
C Marcus Henry, Boise State
LB Dillon Lee, Alabama
TE Mitchell Loewen, Arkansas

Continue reading →

Saints finish off draft by taking California running back Daniel Lasco

California running back Daniel Lasco runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Indianapolis. (Darron Cummings/AP)

The New Orleans Saints finished off their draft class on Saturday by taking California running back Daniel Lasco with their fifth and final pick, a seventh-round selection. Lasco faces a crowded Saints backfield that already includes Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, Marcus Murphy and Travaris Cadet, leaving Lasco looking at a steep, uphill battle to get… Continue reading →

Nick Underhill: Is Michael Thomas a luxury for the Saints? Perhaps, but the receiving corps could use a boost

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Michael Thomas (3) scores a touchdown after a catch against Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first quarter during the Fiesta Bowl in the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2016.  (Columbus Dispatch photo by Kyle Robertson)

Sometimes, the best way to protect your defense is by adding offense. There’s logic behind the argument that the Saints should have used their first two or three picks on defensive players. The group was among the worst in the league in most statistical categories. But there’s also logic in ensuring your offense can put up points week after… Continue reading →

'I wouldn’t have chosen anywhere else:’ Ohio State's Michael Thomas thrilled to be with Saints, Drew Brees

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Michael Thomas (3) scores a touchdown but is called back on a penalty in the second half of the game at Ohio Stadium against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday, November 7, 2015 in Columbus. (Columbus Dispatch photo by Leah Klafczynski) ORG XMIT: osu15min

Michael Thomas has had his eye on the New Orleans Saints for a while. Thomas, who met with the Saints at the NFL combine and Ohio State’s pro day, knew the Saints had a need at receiver after they parted ways with Marques Colston. And the last time he played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, he caught… Continue reading →

Saints coach Sean Payton on Laremy Tunsil tumbling, Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack, staying put at No. 12

AP file photo: New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches from the sideline against the Jacksonville Jaguars in New Orleans.

Expect the unexpected is the unofficial motto of the NFL draft. But on Thursday night, the New Orleans Saints did their part to stick to the script. Widely expected to target a defensive player, coach Sean Payton and the front office tabbed Louisiville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins with the No. 12 overall pick. Payton spoke late… Continue reading →

Rod Walker: Lots to like about Saints first-round pick Sheldon Rankins — even though he grew up rooting for the Falcons

Louisville defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins runs a drill at the NFL Combine. The New Orleans Saints drafted Rankins No. 12 overall.

Sheldon Rankins seems to have been the perfect choice for the Saints on Thursday night. As Sean Payton said, “he checks all the boxes.” He’s big. He’s explosive. He makes a living in the backfield. He is a hard worker, a trait he says he inherited from his mom (a school teacher) and his grandparents.… Continue reading →

Saints first-round pick Sheldon Rankins, at a glance

Louisville's Sheldon Rankins (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Sheldon Rankins Defensive Tackle, Louisville Height: 6-1, Weight: 299; Round: 1, Pick: 12 Who is he: A two-time captain for Louisville, Rankins was highly productive, piling up 18 sacks, including 14 in his final two seasons, and he also produced 111 tackles in those two seasons, along with two interceptions and a… Continue reading →