NFL Nation: Jarred Fayson

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints just finished the first practice session of their minicamp.

Let’s take a quick run through some notes, highlights and observations:
  • Cornerback Keenan Lewis was not at practice. Coach Sean Payton said Lewis was “held out’’, but did not elaborate on the reason,
  • Jason Smith, who is competing for the starting left tackle spot, limped off the field about halfway through practice and was taken to the locker room.
  • Most of the talk about the safeties has centered on veterans Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins, and rookie Kenny Vaccaro. Harper and Jenkins worked with the first team Tuesday, and Vaccaro worked with the second team. But the one safety I saw make several big plays was backup Isa Abdul-Quddus.
  • Payton has said second-year running back Travaris Cadet has some similarities to Darren Sproles. But Cadet will have to come up with some big plays to make Payton and the coaches forget about what happened on a short pass about halfway through practice. The perfectly-thrown pass went right through Cadet’s hands and was intercepted by Corey White.
  • There clearly is a competition for the backup quarterback spot between Luke McCown and Seneca Wallace. I thought Wallace had the better performance Tuesday morning. I also think the Saints might be wise to keep Wallace. His mobility could be used on the scout team to help the defense get ready for the likes of Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
  • Wide receiver Jarred Fayson was the first name Payton mentioned when asked which young players stood out to him. Fayson had several nice catches. Fayson and cornerback Rod Sweeting had a brief shoving match after they collided at the end of one of Fayson’s catches.
  • Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said he was impressed by the performance of rookie linebacker Rufus Johnson. He’s working behind Will Smith and Junior Galette at “Jack’’ linebacker. I saw Johnson swat down a pass, and he looks like he has some quickness.
  • Running back Mark Ingram hasn’t been much of a threat as a pass-catcher. But the Saints seemed to be throwing to him a fair amount Tuesday. I think that might be a sign of things to come.
  • I’ll have much more on Ryan and the defense in my Thursday column. But, for now, let’s just say I was impressed with how many different defensive packages the Saints put on the field Tuesday morning.

Observations on the Saints

August, 9, 2011
8/09/11
8:47
PM ET
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints just finished a fully-padded practice on what unquestionably has been the hottest day of the 2011 NFC South Training Camp Tour.

How hot was it? Well, let’s skip the weather terms and put a different kind of number on it. Defensive end Alex Brown just tweeted that he was nine pounds lighter after he got back to the locker room. Brown said he weighed in at 243 pounds -- that’s linebacker size.

Speaking of the heat, the Saints are going to get away from it. The Saints are going to play a preseason game at Houston. After that, they’re heading to Oxnard, Calif. They’ll spend a week practicing there before playing the Oakland Raiders.

“I think we’ll benefit for a lot of reasons,’’ coach Sean Payton said. “The weather and the environment is something I’m familiar with. Going out there and playing Oakland, it will be a good week for us to finish up.’’

Payton’s familiar with Oxnard from his days with Dallas because the Cowboys have trained there. Oxnard’s known for its low humidity. Payton also said the trip sort of gives the Saints an extra week of training camp.

A few other observations from Tuesday’s practice.
  • Receivers Marques Colston, Adrian Arrington and Jarred Fayson all missed practice. Payton said he’s not worried about a shortage of receivers for Friday’s preseason opener. Payton said he expects some or all of the injured receivers to return soon.
  • Backup quarterback Chase Daniel had a very nice practice. I saw him throw three touchdown passes in team drills. The high-light was a back-shoulder touchdown to Jimmy Graham.
  • Until Tuesday, I had only seen rookie running back Mark Ingram play on television. In person, he’s even more impressive. I saw him running with power and the best thing I can say is he looked faster than I thought he was. The Saints are bringing just about all their other rookies along slowly, but Ingram’s getting all sorts of work with the starters.
  • The outside linebacker spots are still up for grabs, but Scott Shanle's working with the first team on the weak side and Will Herring's working on the strong side. But Clint Ingram got some first-team reps on the strong side on Tuesday and is very much in the mix. I like the way the Saints are handling the situation at outside linebackers. They've got a whole bunch of candidates and they're going to use the preseason to throw them all out there and see who rises up.
  • One thing that really stood out was the fact that the middle of the defensive line is a lot bigger than last year. That’s largely due to the arrival of Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin.
  • I'll have more on the Saints on Wednesday and their Camp Confidential profile is scheduled for Friday.
The Saints just sent out their official list of undrafted rookie free agents they say they’ve agreed to terms with. Let’s take a quick run through the list.
  • Isa Abdul Quddus, safety, Fordham
  • Harold Beilby, offensive tackle, Marian (Ind.)
  • John Chiles, wide receiver, Texas
  • Ryan Colburn, quarterback, Fresno State
  • Jarred Fayson, wide receiver, Illinois
  • Harry Flaherty, tight end, Princeton
  • C.J. Gable, running back, Southern California
  • Michael Galatas, wide receiver, Millsaps
  • Josh Gatlin, cornerback,North Dakota State
  • Michael Higgins, tight end, Nebraska-Omaha
  • Jerimiha Hunter, linebacker, Iowa
  • Kolby Hurt, fullback, Missouri State
  • Carl Johnson, guard, Florida
  • Dexter Larimore, defensive tackle, Ohio State
  • DeAndre McDaniel, safety, Clemson
  • Josh Morgan, wide receiver, Walsh
  • Kyle Nelson, long-snapper, New Mexico State
  • Dwight Roberson, linebacker, Oregon State
  • Mike Smith, offensive lineman, Nebraska
  • Ryan Taylor, center, UCLA
Word of various agreements between teams and undrafted free agents are starting to trickle out.

Keep in mind, none of these have been officially announced by teams. The news is coming from players, their agents and their colleges. It’s not unheard of for a player to agree with one team and end up signing with another. As soon as teams send out official lists of their signings, we’ll share them with you.

In the meantime, here’s what’s being reported.

Mike Triplett reports the Saints have agreed with Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn.

D. Orlando Ledbetter reports the Falcons are expected to add West Virginia running back Noel Devine and Boise State defensive end Ryan Winterswyk.

Triplett also reports the Saints have agreed with Texas receiver John Chiles, Walsh receiver Joe Morgan, Illinois receiver Jarred Fayson and Iowa linebacker Jeremiha Hunter.

Fordham safety Isa Abdul-Quddus said on his Twitter account that he has agreed to a deal with the Saints.

North Carolina defensive back Kendric Burney said via Twitter he’s signing with the Panthers.

Auburn receiver Darvin Adams and offensive lineman Ryan Pugh reportedly will join the Panthers. That should make former teammate Cam Newton happy.

The Saints reportedly will add Ohio State defensive tackle Dexter Larimore and safety DeAndre McDaniel.

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