With nine draft picks and an organizational history of unearthing gems from the ranks of undrafted free agents, the newcomers are rightfully getting most of the attention at the Saints’ rookie minicamp that began Friday afternoon.
But a couple of veteran names that popped up on the official list of minicamp participants New Orleans released Friday are intriguing.
Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, wide receiver Josh Morgan and tight end Chase Coffman all represent veterans in camp on a tryout basis who might be able to earn a chance to compete.
Bowers, who was widely regarded as a potential top-10 pick in the 2011 draft before injury concerns knocked him into the second round, has been unable to capitalize on that promise for a variety of reasons.
First, Bowers tore his Achilles tendon in May of 2012, an injury that limited him to just 10 games. In 2013, he was arrested on a gun charge at LaGuardia airport, and he served a two-game suspension last season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Once seen as an edge rusher, Bowers played at 288 pounds last season as both an end and tackle for the Buccaneers. In four seasons, he finished with just 10 starts and seven sacks.
Morgan, a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder who has played for the 49ers, Redskins and Bears in a seven-year career, has caught more than 40 passes three times.
But after struggling in 2013, Morgan caught career lows of just 10 passes and 70 yards with the Bears last season.
Coffman, a highly productive receiver at Missouri, played in 13 games for the Titans last season, producing career highs in games played, catches (6), receiving yards (64) and the first touchdown of his career.
On another team, Coffman, who spent two seasons apiece with both Cincinnati and Atlanta before landing in Tennessee, wouldn’t be a headliner, but the Saints appear to have an opening for a third tight end behind Josh Hill and Benjamin Watson.
Whether or not any of those three players have enough left to earn a spot in training camp remains to be seen.