Saints are targeting a training camp return for injured fifth-round pick Davis Tull _lowres

Tennessee-Chattanooga linebacker Davis Tull (AP images)

Fifth-round pick Davis Tull is the kind of player who might be able to help the Saints’ defense at either outside linebacker spot, both as a pass rusher and a run stopper.

So far, though, he hasn’t been able to do much of anything on the field as he continues to rehabilitate after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in March.

But the rookie has given New Orleans confidence that he’ll be able to hit the ground running when the Saints open training camp in West Virginia.

“The easiest way to say it would be, we think, based on his progress, that he’ll be available for training camp,” Payton said. “At that point, it’ll be just a matter of making sure there’s not too much right away.”

Tull, who has been in jersey and shorts during the Saints’ summer workouts but held out of any drills, hasn’t been able to play with his new teammates yet.

Even so, the rookie appears to be making progress.

On Tuesday, Tull did pass rush drills and other linebacker-specific work off to the side during practice, a new addition to the conditioning drills he’d been doing throughout organized team activities.

Then Tull spends the rest of the practice trying to pick up the scheme from the sidelines.

“The key for him is just keeping track of the mental,” Payton said. “He seems to be picking things up well.”