METAIRIE, La. – Travaris Cadet admits the fact he’s fighting for a roster spot in such a deep backfield in New Orleans sticks in his mind constantly.
But looking up at Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory, all of whom return from 2011, isn’t deterring him or hampering his confidence in breaking into the NFL.
“I feel like no matter where I land, there’s going to be competition,” Cadet said Monday. “If you don’t want to compete, you shouldn’t be in sports, period.”
And so far, Cadet is competing.
He has 15 carries for only 23 yards, a paltry 1.5 yard-per-carry average.
But it’s what he does in the passing game that gives him a shot. He leads the team in the preseason with 14 catches and his 109 yards leads all running backs. He’s also the only player with a receiving touchdown.
Cadet also has returned punts and kickoffs, averaging 9.3 yards per punt return and 28 yards on one kickoff.
He also has shown that he can pick up blitzes and block in the passing game.
It’s those skills that make Cadet feel like he has a shot to stick in New Orleans.
“Not every team in the NFL fits a guy’s tendency,” Cadet said. “I feel like God placed me in the right place here in New Orleans in this spread offense, where I can use my versatility and do a number of things on the offensive side of the ball and also special teams.”
Thus far, he has made friends with the right people, impressing who he must.
Quarterback Drew Brees and running back Pierre Thomas have taken Cadet under their wings, giving the undrafted rookie free agent out of Appalachian State crucial advice and key tips.
“I think he has a lot of talent,” Thomas said. “He’s shown he has a lot of talent, a lot of skills and the talent that we need for him to possess in this offense. He has been doing a great job.”
In a way, Cadet looks to Thomas as his mentor, a trail-blazer who has given the rookie the right path to follow.
“From Day 1, I can relate to Pierre,” Cadet said. “He was an undrafted free agent. He was overlooked. I feel like I was overlooked.”
Cadet might have been overlooked because of where he came from. After starting out at Toledo, Cadet transferred to Pearl River Community College in Mississippi before heading to Appalachian State.
With the Mountaineers, he served as running back and return specialist, finishing three seasons with 3,929 all-purpose yards, including 1,688 rushing yards.
Even there, however, he had to fight for a roster spot. When he landed at Appalachian State, he said there were six to seven running backs already there.
He eventually beat them out for a role in the offense and, now as a rookie, he’s confident he can make the Saints’ roster.
“I’m confident in everything I do and I feel like I have a shot at making this roster,” Cadet said. “It’s not something I worry about. I just come out here every day and give my all and pray and keep God first. I come out here and give these guys my all, give my coaches my all. I represent my family out here and I just take it a day at a time.”