The Saints aren’t afraid of giving a player a chance, regardless of his pedigree or where he comes from.
Last season, New Orleans turned to Brian Dixon, an undrafted player, at cornerback over the decorated Champ Bailey. Pass rusher Junior Galette, running back Khiry Robinson, guard Tim Lelito and tight end Josh Hill also got their start as undrafted players.
There’s no law saying someone from this year’s class of UDFAs has to make the team. But the point is that New Orleans will give this year’s class of dreamers every opportunity to prove their worth and crack the roster.
Here’s a look at five players who could contend for a roster spot:
WR R.J. Harris
The undrafted rookie out of New Hampshire caught some eyes during the offseason program and even drew the praise of Sean Payton a few times.
Harris proved in college, albeit against lesser competition, that he can play. He logged three seasons of 1,000-plus yards, including 1,551 as a senior. He’s quick and ran solid routes during the offseason program, making him someone to keep an eye on moving forward.
The only issue is that he faces steep competition to make the roster. The Saints have Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston as locks at wide receiver, with others such as Brandon Coleman, Seantavius Jones, Josh Morgan, Joe Morgan and Nick Toon competing for what may be two roster spots.
If Harris doesn’t make the team and impresses in camp, he could be a candidate for the practice squad.
TE Jack Tabb
The Saints only have four tight ends on the roster, and it’s possible that three will make the 53-man roster coming out of camp.
Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill appear to be locks, meaning Tabb will be fighting with Orson Charles for the final roster spot.
Using simple math, Tabb is worth keeping a close eye on during camp. But he also stood out during the offseason program, showing surprising quickness and good hands.
Tabb already outlasted another undrafted tight end, Harold Spears. If Tabb challenge for a roster spot, it will likely be as an inline tight end, where Watson plays.
OL Sean Hickey
Hickey performed well at Syracuse, playing left and right tackle. His ability to crack the roster will depend on whether he is able to transition inside to guard.
Competition is more open there, and Hickey, if he performs well, could position himself to make the team. His chief competition at that spot will be Senio Kelemete, Mike Brewster and Mike McGlynn.
The Saints gave Hickey $22,500 in total guarantees, the highest total among all of their undrafted players.
DL Bobby Richardson
It was impossible not to notice Richardson during the offseason program. Due to some injuries across the defensive line, the rookie was logging snaps with every personnel grouping.
While we didn’t see him do much since contact was prohibited during those practices, it put him on the radar as someone to watch.
Richardson was a disruptive player in college, logging 5.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss as a senior. If he can keep that up, there are jobs to be won on the defensive line.
Undrafted defensive lineman Tavaris Barnes also is worth keeping an eye on.
DL Kaleb Eulls
When asked about the Saints’ draft class this offseason, many talent evaluators brought up Eulls as someone to keep an eye on moving forward.
The defensive tackle recorded three tackles for a loss and three sacks last season at Mississippi State and many believed he would be drafted in the middle rounds. He fell out of the draft and received $15,000 in total guarantees from the Saints.
Like Richardson, Eulls can take advantage of the opportunity on the defensive line and win a job if he impresses in camp.