Charles Brown is expected to get the first crack at the Saints' left tackle job.
Brown, a second-round pick in 2010, has spent the majority of his first three NFL seasons in the trainer's room. He's now facing an all-out competition with free agent acquisition Jason Smith and third-round pick Terron Armstead to replace Jermon Bushrod. "It's definitely time for me to step up and prove myself and prove that I can protect Drew back there," Brown said. It's an area of concern for the Saints.
Second-year DL Akiem Hicks is concentrating on defensive end in the Saints' new 3-4 defense.
Following the hiring of DC Rob Ryan, many penciled Hicks in as the starting nose tackle in New Orleans. After the team drafted behemoth NT John Jenkins in the third round of last month's draft, Hicks is now expected to be the top reserve at all three defensive line spots in a Ricky Jean-Francois-esque role.
Saints signed LB Baraka Atkins.
Atkins was inked after participating in the Saints' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. It's the first we've heard of the 2007 fourth-rounder in over two years. Atkins hasn't appeared in a game since 2008, and is highly unlikely to do so in 2013.
Saints signed No. 82 pick NT John Jenkins to a four-year contract.
Jenkins is a mammoth presence at 6-foot-4 and anywhere from 346 to 359 pounds -- his weight fluctuated from pre-draft workout to pre-draft workout -- but he has some "Teddy Bear" to him and got pushed around most notably by Kentucky OG Larry Warford in SEC action. The Saints need help at nose tackle in Rob Ryan's new 3-4, so Jenkins could still he headed for a big 2013 role.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Mark Ingram is 100 percent healthy for the "first time since he left Alabama."
"I've just been working hard this offseason, trying to get in the best shape of my life," Ingram said. The 2011 first-round pick spent last offseason recovering from knee and toe operations, and was nicked up for a majority of his rookie campaign. Ingram dealt with left knee issues in college. Coach Sean Payton has made it clear he's hoping for an improved run game in 2013, and reporter Mike Triplett believes it's "not unrealistic" to project 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns for Ingram. Ingram played better down the stretch last season, but that may be a stretch with Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles both still in the picture.
Saints agreed to terms with No. 75 overall pick OT Terron Armstead on a four-year contract.
Armstead set a Combine record among offensive linemen with his 4.71 forty, and he has drawn comparisons to Texans All-Pro LT Duane Brown. Armstead will compete with 2010 second-rounder Charles Brown for the starting left tackle job.
Saints agreed to terms with No. 183 overall pick DE/OLB Rufus Johnson on a four-year contract.
Johnson (6-foot-5 1/4, 272) is a bit of a 'tweener for the Saints' 3-4 defense. At small school Tarleton State, Johnson recorded ten sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss as a senior. He'll likely focus on special teams as a rookie.