New Orleans Saints rookie minicamp Day 2 recap: Haener shows out, many still adjusting
METAIRIE, La. (WLOX) - Saturday marked Day 2 of the Saints rookie minicamp over at the black and gold’s training facility in Metairie. Athletes from across the globe are trying to earn their spot on an NFL roster.
For some in attendance, this is just the beginning, but for others, an invite to training camp could be on the line.
Here’s what we learned:
JAKE HAENER, QB, FRESNO ST.
The former Bulldog drafted on Day 3 in the fourth round by the Saints, Haener showed flashes throughout they day and was the unquestioned leader on the field.
Haener earned first-team All-MWC honors in 2022 despite missing four games due to an ankle injury in Week 3. He joins a quarterback room occupied by fellow Fresno St. alum Derek Carr and veteran Jameis Winston.
“I think it’s just a whole different scheme,” said Haener. “A lot of different things, a lot of different moving pieces, and I think the details need to be that much more taken care of, so like I said, I’m gonna study one day at a time and continue to get better.”
A.T. PERRY, WR, WAKE FOREST
Drafted by New Orleans with the 195th pick in the sixth round, Perry was quickly deemed by several experts as one of the steals of the draft. The 6′3, 198 lb. wideout posted over 1,000 receiving yards and earned first-team All-ACC honors in both his junior and senior seasons with the Demon Deacons and was projected to go as high as the third round.
However, Perry found himself fall into the later rounds after he says teams had questions about “character stuff.” Now, he now finds himself fighting to be on a roster alongside veteran Michael Thomas, sophomore Chris Olave and newly-signed Bryan Edwards.
Perry struggled at times with drills and catching the football on Saturday, having to be taken aside by coaches more than once. While it’s still early, better days are surely to be had.
NICK ANDERSON, LB, TULANE
An undrafted free agent who also attended Jones College in Ellisville out of high school, Anderson more than likely doesn’t have a chance as a starter, but could provide some depth for New Orleans at the position while also learning from team captain Demario Davis.
However, as Anderson puts it, the most important step to learning is knowing that you know nothing.
“It really showed me that you don’t know nothing,” said Anderson. “That’s one of the things that I really just carry with me here . . . not forgetting everything, but, you know, putting on the backburner what I learned at Tulane and really trying to start over as a rookie and really understand what they’re trying to do here.”
LOU HEDLEY, P, MIAMI (FL)
Although the Saints recently resigned four-year punter Blake Gillikin to a 1 year, $1.24 million dollar contract, undrafted free agent Lou Hedley is looking to make it a competition.
The Australian 29-year-old was selected as a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award in both 2021 and 2022 and earned AP second-team All-American honors after ranking #2 among FBS punters in yards per punt (47.3) during his final year as a Hurricane.
Hedley says he’s grateful to sign with New Orleans, but knows adapting is vital.
“Obviously my whole college career, you strive to get to a position like this onto the team,” said Hedley. “I’m very fortunate to sign with a team like the Saints . . . This is an amazing spot. Just everything I learned throughout college, obviously the rules in the NFL are a little different, so I have to just transition over, but I’m doing a great job of it.”
Saints head coach Dennis Allen also spoke Saturday, and when asked what he’s looking for out of the rookies, this was his response:
“Everything is being evaluated, you know?” he said. “Look, everything that we do is based on, you know, how are we gonna be the best version of ourselves that we can be when we get to the season? How quickly can they pick up what we’re doing, in this particular case, from an offensive schematic standpoint, so what’s their intelligence level? How do they fit in when you’re bringing in 50 guys that are NFL-caliber players?”
Sunday marks the final day for NFL Rookie Minicamps. The Saints kick off the preseason with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on a date to be determined in mid-August.
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