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New Orleans Saints like progress, presence, attitude of defensive end Chase Young

'He's dove into the deep end of the pool with us. There's no toe in the water with him'

New Orleans Saints defensive end Chase Young isn't expected to be able to participate in upcoming OTAs but continues to progress from offseason neck surgery.

Young, an unrestricted free agent who was the No. 2 overall pick by Washington in 2020 and was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year that season, signed a one-year deal with New Orleans in March and has totaled 16.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 43 games, with 32 starts.

Young played in 12 of 33 regular-season games in 2021-22 after tearing the ACL and patella tendon in his right knee during Week 10 of 2021.

"Things are going well right now," Saints Coach Dennis Allen said on Monday, prior to participating in the annual Saints Hall of Fame Celebrity Golf Classic at Chateau Golf and Country Club. "I don't expect to see him out there on the practice field working any time soon.

"He's been able to participate in some of the walkthrough stuff that we've had, I think that'll be the mode that he's going to be in for the majority of this time of year, and then we'll see where we're at when training camp comes around."

Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said there's an air of excitement around Young's presence, chiefly due to Young's embrace of his new team.

"When he came out (in 2020), he was one of the best defensive prospects that we'd seen in a while," Loomis said. "Had a great first season, then he's dealt with some injuries and some circumstances that are both within his control and out of his control.

"You get a player that's got a bit of chip on his shoulder and ready to prove something with his level of talent is exciting for us. And, look, I'm excited because he's excited. He's excited to be here with this group and he's been very enthusiastic.

"He's dove into the deep end of the pool with us. There's no toe in the water with him, and all of that is really exciting."

Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, the franchise all-time leader in sacks (117.5) who also is rehabbing from offseason surgery, said he'll best be able to gauge his teammate's impact when everyone is able to get on the field for full-pads activities.

"We see him in the building every day, and every day he's out there rehabbing right beside me," Jordan said. "It's great to see him, and can't wait to actually put some pads on.

"Right now this is all just speculation, until we put pads on, until we start hitting people, until we get through preseason. Once we start to see some live bullets I'll know exactly what we're dealing with."

STARS ALIGNED: New Orleans was able to fit need with pick in the first round of this year's NFL Draft, by selecting Oregon State offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga.

The Saints entered the draft with a level of uncertainty at both tackle positions: Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk has been slow to recover from offseason knee surgery; Andrus Peat signed with the Raiders as a free agent after finishing 2023 as the starting left tackle; James Hurst, who had started games at left tackle and left guard for New Orleans, retired this offseason; and Trevor Penning, the 2022 first-round pick who opened last season at left tackle, has battled inconsistency.

"I think whatever you pick in the first round is going to be important, whether you're adding to a strength of your team or whether you're filling a particular hole," Loomis said. "I think it was coincidental that this year the strength in the early part of the draft was offensive line and quarterback. We had a need at the offensive line, and that strength turned out to be a good thing for us."

Loomis said the Saints made an offer to Peat, but the nine-year veteran chose the Raiders.

"We made attempts to get him re-signed, and he chose to go someplace else, which, that's what free agency is about," Loomis said. "Andrus was a good pick for us and played for us for a long time. Excited for him. I know he's got a new chapter, he's probably excited about a new team and (we) wish him nothing but the best of luck."

LATT CHAT: Allen said he has been in contact with cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the four-time Pro Bowler who missed the final seven games last season with an ankle injury.

"I had a conversation with him probably two or three weeks ago," Allen said. "I thought it was a positive conversation, and we're moving forward."

NOT CIRCLED, BUT AWARE: Jordan believes the Saints should win every game, but admits there could be a little more juice for the Thursday night, Oct. 17, prime-time home game against Denver, which is led by former Saints coach Sean Payton.

"It's not that I've, like, circled it on the calendar or marked it down that we have to win that game – but it feels like, we have to win that game," he said, wearing a mischievous look on his face. "Everybody knows who Sean Payton is. We can't let him do that one."

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