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Sean Payton compliments Willie Snead, Dustin Hopkins, but offers no assurances

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Saints coach Sean Payton said receiver Willie Snead is a "smart player" who can player several positions on the field. Michael Thomas Shroyer/USA TODAY Sports

METAIRIE, La. -- None of the New Orleans Saints' 53-man roster decisions have been revealed yet as of Friday afternoon. Coach Sean Payton said in a conference call that the staff would meet again later Friday to continue the evaluation process leading up to Saturday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Payton offered a few hints on certain players he was asked about Friday -- though he didn't make any declarative statements like he did last week when he insisted rookie running back Marcus Murphy is "making this team."

I asked Payton if summer superstar Willie Snead is still being evaluated or has clearly earned a role on the team. Payton's answer fell somewhere in the middle.

"He got a lot of work last night. He's been consistent in camp. I thought he played well last night again," Payton said of the second-year wide receiver, who started opposite Brandon Coleman on Thursday night at Green Bay while projected starters Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston were rested.

"He's a smart player, so he can play multiple positions. And we've been impressed -- I would say I've been impressed with his body of work up to date. It's been very consistent."

Payton also mentioned consistency when talking about kicker Dustin Hopkins -- which I took as a fairly good sign for the third-year pro from Florida State. But Hopkins might have missed his chance to put an end to the kicker competition when he pushed a 53-yard field goal attempt wide right on Thursday.

I asked Payton if the Saints were hoping that kick would confirm Hopkins as their kicker -- and if they're now back to Square 1 in the choice between Hopkins and Zach Hocker.

"That's a good question. ...It's a good distance, he had the leg for it, he just missed it wide," Payton said, explaining that they'll go back now and "really look closely" at everything the two kickers have done. "[Hopkins] has been fairly consistent in camp. He's striking the ball well. And yet you're hoping -- I was hoping, certainly we all were hoping there would be a wider margin with either of those players."

In case you missed it, I have both Snead and Hopkins making the cut on my projected 53-man roster.