The Football Fever: First rounder Lattimore pleases Saints during rookie mini-camp
NEW ORLEANS -- For the New Orleans Saints' coaching staff, the chance to get a good first look at the six players they selected in the draft last month wasn't the only objective when they held a three-day rookie minicamp.
Since the arrival of coach Sean Payton in 2006, the Saints have used the rookie minicamp to take a look not only at their picks and the undrafted free agents they signed in the hours after the draft, they've taken advantage of the opportunity to kick the tires on a few veterans as well with nothing to lose.
While the Saints were eager to get their two first-round draft picks -- Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk -- integrated into their system, they had their eyes on a lot of other players.
"Listen, he is doing well like the rest of these guys," Payton said of Lattimore, who was expected to be a top-five or top-six pick before falling to the Saints at No. 11. "He's going out there and getting the calls. They're getting a lot installed right now, but he's a quick study and he's picked it up."
Ramczyk, who was chosen 32nd overall with the pick the Saints received from the New England Patriots in the Brandin Cooks trade, has been something of a surprise.
The potential heir apparent at right tackle to veteran Zach Strief, Ramczyk had surgery on a torn labrum in his hip in January and wasn't expected to be ready until training camp.
But he arrived at minicamp ahead of schedule in his rehab and could participate before the Saints wind up their off-season work in mid-June.
"He's receiving a lot of work, but he's not receiving the team work," Payton said. "He probably is three to four weeks out with his labrum, but he's picking things up very quickly. He's in good shape and much further along than really we anticipated even with his surgery. It's been good, been a good exposure."