The New Orleans Times-Picayune considers Jason Smith a "sleeper" for the Saints' left tackle job.
We'll call him a deep sleeper. A deep, deep, deep one. Smith is "competing" with Charles Brown and third-rounder Terron Armstead, but is a distant third. Smith did get some first-team reps in OTAs, but he isn't even a lock for a roster spot. The Saints will be in trouble if they need Smith to start games this season.
Jonathan Vilma and Curtis Lofton worked as the Saints' starting inside linebackers throughout OTAs and minicamp.
Vilma is playing the weak-inside position, while Lofton is the strong-side inside linebacker or "Mike." David Hawthorne doesn't appear to be pushing Vilma, who is superior in terms of both range and coverage. Lofton led the Saints in tackles (123) last season and figures to do so again this year.
Saints OLB Victor Butler will undergo ACL reconstructive surgery on Tuesday.
Butler tore his ACL in Wednesday's minicamp practice on a collision with Mark Ingram. He'll almost certainly be placed on season-ending injured reserve. Martez Wilson is in the driver's seat for the starting SAM linebacker spot opposite Junior Galette. Butler's injury may force the Saints to keep Will Smith.
A source tells the Times-Picayune that Saints OLB Victor Butler tore his ACL during Tuesday's practice.
After showing significant pass-rush potential in a part-time role with the Cowboys over the last four seasons, Butler went shopping for playing time in free agency. He landed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Saints and was expected to start at SAM linebacker in Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme. He would have been a sleeper for double-digit sacks. Now Butler is looking at a season on injured reserve, leaving Martez Wilson as the next man up. The injury happened during a collision with Mark Ingram during what was supposed to be a non-contact practice.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called Kenyon Coleman "the best run defender in football as a 3-4 end."
The Saints brought in Ryan to fix their defense, which gave up a league-worst 147.6 yards per game rushing last season. He in turn brought in Coleman, who will play on early downs as a situational run stuffer. Coleman missed nine games while with the Cowboys last season due to a torn triceps.
Saints WR Kenny Stills reportedly did not stand out much at OTAs or minicamps.
A fifth-round rookie out of Oklahoma, Stills is behind both Joe Morgan and Nick Toon. There's significantly more Dynasty appeal here than redraft. Stills fits in both the "Z" and slot positions, and both Lance Moore/Marques Colston are entering their age-30 seasons.