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Five under the radar players to watch at Black and Gold scrimmage

Posted Aug 2, 2013

Play will begin at 8:50 a.m. Saturday at New Orleans Saints practice facility

1.    WR Saalim Hakim – The New Orleans Saints are pretty familiar with Hakim (5 feet 11, 188 pounds), since they picked him up last December. But fans aren’t. In a nutshell, the guy can run really, really fast and appears to be a solid receiver. Now, will he be able to play special teams and use that speed on those units? That remains to be seen. He’ll have to have multiple skills if he wants to be on this team, and Saturday will afford him an opportunity to show some of them.

2-3.    LBs Eric Martin and Chase Thomas – We’ll list both of them here, since they’re both linebackers. Each undrafted rookie has an opportunity to be a Saint (we know the Saints don’t mind keeping an undrafted rookie) because the team needs linebackers and each is capable of playing special teams. Martin (6-2, 250) is a heavy hitter who brings some striking ability and Thomas (6-3, 241) was rotated in with the No. 1 defense for some snaps during the first week of training camp. Saturday’s scrimmage will be the first time we can get an idea of what they can do as professional defenders.

4.    OT Marcel Jones – Jones is a right tackle and right now, the seventh-round draft pick from 2012 is backing up Zach Strief. Not much has been made of that fact because of the battle for the left tackle spot, but Jones will have to be ready if anything happens to Strief, who has missed four and five games, respectively, the last two seasons. New Orleans liked him enough to draft him, keep him and develop him into Strief’s backup. He’ll get a chance to show what he has learned during the Black and Gold scrimmage.

5.    TE Michael Higgins – The certainty is that budding superstar Jimmy Graham and productive veteran Ben Watson are the top two tight ends. But Higgins has shown some ability during the first eight days of training camp. He started a game last year, has played in four games (over two seasons) with the Saints and spent the first 12 weeks of last season on the practice squad. He won’t get the notoriety of Graham and Watson, but he could find a way to stick on the 53-man roster.

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