WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. —Lance Moore’s career in martial arts led him to black belt. Willie Snead had only an orange belt hanging in his closet.
On the football field, Snead is hoping to flip those fortunes. The unheralded, undrafted Saints receiver has been drawing comparisons to Moore throughout training camp because of their pedigrees and style of play, but Snead doesn’t care for such talk.
He wants to be more than the next Moore.
“We do have similar attributes. I’m a hard worker, and he’s a hard worker. But at the end of the day, I’m my own person,” said Snead, a product of Ball State who hooked on the Saints’ practice squad last year. “I want to be better than Lance, to be honest. Not to be cocky or anything, but that’s what I strive for.”
Snead has made a strong impression in camp. Both Drew Brees and Ryan Griffin have singled him out as someone who has been playing well in camp, and coach Sean Payton noted that the receiver does all the right things and likes how he runs routes.
But even though Snead has caught 12 of the 14 passes thrown to him during camp, he’s still fighting for a job at the end of the depth chart with Josh Morgan, Joe Morgan and Seantavius Jones.
“I think he is a good route runner with strong hands, and he is smart,” Payton said. “Those are traits that Lance has had. Man, Lance played a ton of good football for us. The jury is still out, and he still has a ways to go, but those are some things that you do see early on from (Snead).”
Moore, a product of the University of Toledo, logged 360 receptions for 4,479 yards in eight seasons with the Saints. His best year came in 2012 when he finished with 65 catches for 1,041 yards.
Snead has a long way to go to get there. The 5-foot-11 receiver caught 106 passes for 1,516 yards during his final season at Ball State, which is impressive, but it’s going to take more than that, a handful of camp highlights and an orange belt to win a roster spot.
Snead’s on the right track, but he’ll need to keep proving he’s worth a chance, beginning with Thursday’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Vinnie Sunseri keeps making plays.
Fresh off of a pick-six in the red zone during Saturday’s scrimmage, Sunseri came up with another Monday, picking off a short throw into the middle from Luke McCown.
It was his third interception of training camp.
Sunseri, the Saints’ fifth-round pick a year ago, has spent training camp backing up Kenny Vaccaro at strong safety, and he finds himself in a fight for a roster spot in a crowded defensive backfield.
“The key is how many snaps can he play during the course of a game if he’s up and he’s got a jersey,” Payton said. “And can he function with less practice snaps in the event of an injury?”
Sunseri played in nine games as a rookie, mostly on special teams, making five tackles before breaking his arm against the San Francisco 49ers.
His instincts are part of the reason the Saints drafted Sunseri last season out of Alabama.
The New Orleans Saints waived Malcome Kennedy from injured reserve.
Kennedy, a wide receiver from Texas A&M, signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent.
He suffered a fractured foot during rookie minicamp, according to a source.