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Saints 2020 training camp preview: offensive line

Steve Geller
July 08, 2020 - 3:17 pm
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Drew Brees will be the first to credit the big guys up-front for his consistent success at quarterback.  Under head coach Sean Payton, the Saints always seem to have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and 2020 will be no different. The biggest questions going into training camp are: where their 1st round draft pick will fit in, and which reserves will make the roster?   

Erik McCoy spent his entire rookie campaign at center a year ago, but could end up moving over to right guard since there is a vacancy there following the release of Larry Warford. But, this year’s 1st round pick, Cesar Ruiz, could also fill that void.  

"We see value in Cesar as an interior player," offensive line coach Dan Roushar said. "We recognize he was a heck of a center the last couple years at Michigan and we recognize his value in that area. I think it’s between Sean’s direction and as we see this thing taking shape; the ability to make a move with Erik and slide Cesar and or go the other direction with it. Those things will be determined as we come to camp and attack this thing.”

The rest of the starting o-line is easy to run down.  Ryan Ramczyk is entering his 4th season in the league and has established himself as one of the best right tackles in the game. He’s earned back-to-back All-Pro selections, and played in 99% of the offensive snaps a year ago. The left side is anchored by two Pro Bowlers in tackle Terron Armstead and guard Andrus Peat.  Both are superior talents, but both have also dealt with a number of injuries, which only adds to the importance of the Saints reserve offensive lineman and why depth heading into camp is off the charts.

James Hurst is a veteran free agent addition that is looking to earn a roster spot. He has played at left guard and left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, but is no lock to make the roster.  Hurst must serve a four-game suspension to start the season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy.

Other experienced options for the interior of the o-line include, C/G Nick Easton, G Patrick Omameh, C/G Cameron Tom and C/G Will Clapp.  Derrick Kelly and Ethan Greenidge are options at the tackle position.

Last but not least are the undrafted rookies. Adrian Magee, Calvin Throckmorton, Jordan Steckler, Jalen Dalton and Darrin Paulo have an even tougher road ahead this season compared to year’s past. They only have training camp to stand-out to coaches since any on-field work during mini-camp and organized team activities never happened. As of right now the Saints staff only has video conference calls and college game footage to go by.   

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