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John DeShazier: Andrus Peat impressing with his size, athleticism

He's been working at right tackle in rookie minicamp

Photos from the Saints Rookie Camp on Friday, May 15, 2015. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. New Orleans Saints photos.

Don't let the smooth delivery fool you.

Andrus Peat barely speaks above a whisper, and that isn't exactly the volume emittance expected from a man who best can be described as mammoth – 6 feet 7, 313 pounds with calves the size of some men's waists and thighs that rival the size of tree trunks.

But the first of New Orleans' two first round picks, No. 13 overall, isn't so mild on the field. You don't rise to the level of second-team All-American, Outland Trophy semifinalist and starter in the final 27 games of your college career by tiptoeing around and asking politely.

So it should come as no surprise that the Saints, despite having Terron Armstead and Zach Strief returning as starters at left and right tackle, respectively, expect Peat to find his way and contribute after ending his college career as a standout left tackle at Stanford.

"He's taking reps at right and left," Coach Sean Payton said Saturday, the second day of rookie minicamp. "Predominately, we've worked him at the right tackle position, (but) he's got the skill set to play either. He played left tackle in college.

"I think it's going to be important for him initially as he gets ready to come to the vet minicamp and then training camp, to begin to have a primary spot. I see that being initially at right, but I also see him being able to go and play left. Typically, most of these linemen will have two spots that we train them at during training camp. He's a quick study, smart, an impressive young player."

Peat fit into the too-good-to-pass-up category for the Saints.

 "I suppose that we're not going to let a guy that good not come here when we have an opportunity to get him," offensive line coach Bret Ingalls said. "We're always looking to add depth. Until we really get going it's going to be hard to be able to say where everybody fits.

 "He's a third-year college athlete who's taking that step into the pros. Where he fits immediately, I'm not sure yet. But we're very, very excited.

"What we have to find out for next season is, who are our best five players and how do we put them on the field at the same time? That's the goal, the best five players. Wherever he's playing, we're going to find the best five guys. Talent-wise, though, I think he's capable of contributing."

So the giant will use his Stanford football education – the Cardinal played a pro-style offense – to help acclimate to the NFL. Peat will miss some offseason workouts with the Saints because school still is in session at Stanford, which is on the quarter system.

"It doesn't matter to me (which position)," Peat said. "I've been getting work on both sides, it's been good to kind of play both.

"I feel like Stanford did a good of preparing me, so I think it won't be too bad for me. (It's) similar stuff, just different terminology."

It's a situation where his athleticism will come in handy. And Saints coaches all but rave about the fluidity with which he moves.

"He's got tremendous size and length," Ingalls said. "But then, when you watch him, he can really move for a big guy. He's got a very, very thick lower (body) and yet, he can move like he's a skinny-legged guy. Now it's a matter of learning everything we do and controlling your body and not stumbling around. That's what any new player does."

Said Payton: "You see it on film, you see it in workouts and then when he's actually here, you see his size and you see his athleticism and it's pretty impressive."

Peat said some of the agility comes as a result of old-fashioned sweat, repeatedly working on his kick slides and different techniques. But some could be attributable to him being a two-sport athlete in his youth.

"I played basketball growing up, so that helped me out because you've got to move a lot in basketball," he said.

Obviously, it's a characteristic the Saints like. It's one of the things that stand out for Peat, and speaks above his whispers.

"I would hope he's contributing (this season)," Ingalls said. "Now, where is that, I don't know. In the past we've used some jumbo tight end stuff, so we're using six linemen at a time."

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