We’ve hit the home stretch of the offseason with precious little time remaining for players and coaches to get their non-football lives in order. The first practice for the 2013 season is Friday, July 26.
WWLTV.com will take a look at 10 questions for New Orleans entering training camp and the season. They’re in no particular order, just numbered.
We’ve love to get your thoughts on each day’s topic. Leave your comment below or on the station’s Facebook page to further the discussion.
No. 6: Who has the best shot of being this year’s breakout star?
Charles Brown, Junior Galette, Martez Wilson and Kenny Vaccaro (pictured).
Those four names, to those of us at WWLTV.com, represent the likely players who could have a breakout season in 2013.
Corey White, Rufus Johnson, Chase Thomas and Kevin Reddick all came to mind but when ultimately deciding the most likely contenders, it fell to Brown, Galette, Wilson and Vaccaro.
For Brown, it’s more about opportunity than anything else. He’ll go into training camp as the likely first-team left tackle after Jermon Bushrod left for Chicago in free agency. He always has had the talent, hence the reason the Saints selected him in the second round in 2010. But he ended both ’11 and ’12 on the injured reserve, a hip pointer taking him out first and a right knee injury derailing the latter season.
Brown has started eight of 21 games and has only grown more consistent the more he has played. In 2012, he saw 124 snaps on offense and his best game came against Atlanta. According to ProFootballFocus.com, he graded out positively in that Saints win, giving up only one quarterback hurry.
Galette and Wilson, meanwhile, fall under the same category – young, athletic players who should be able to take advantage of Rob Ryan’s attacking 3-4 defense.
The former, given a greater opportunity in ’12, came through with five sacks, third-most on the team. He just signed a new long-term contract and has said time and again that he fits this defense better than any. And he’s right.
Wilson, however, is a wild card. He didn’t see a ton of time on the field this past season and was up and down in then-defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Penalties have been a problem in his career and he can get lost in coverage occasionally. But Ryan’s defense should suit him better than Spagnuolo’s and Wilson could be freed to do what he does best – use his athleticism to make plays in the backfield.
And then there’s Vaccaro, the rookie from Texas. He’s a big unknown and the position he plays is already filled by two veterans who aren’t nearly as bad as some would make them out to be.
But Vaccaro already was spending a significant amount of time with the first team during organized team activities and mini-camp. While it’s hard to decipher exactly how far along a player is during those non-contact periods, it’s not hard to figure out that he’s a quick study and has the attention of the coaching staff.
So, off the four discussed, Vaccaro would fit the bill the most to us – no professional experience, an unknown of sorts but tons of upside.