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Versatility of Calvin Throckmorton could lead to role with New Orleans Saints

'I'd be ready to go wherever they needed me'

Calvin Throckmorton will step on the field as an undrafted rookie for the New Orleans Saints with at least a couple of factors working in his favor.

First, the Saints held him in high enough regard to keep him on their board of possible draft picks, something not taken lightly because in New Orleans' winnowing process, the board shrivels from about 500 to around 100, 120 by the time the sifting has been completed.

Second, he offers position flex.

Actually, he offers flex to the highest degree of flex as an offensive lineman.

Throckmorton, a two-time All-American in college (second team in 2018 and '19), finished with 52 straight starts: 41 at right tackle, five at left tackle, three at right guard and three at center.

"I'm very confident," he said. "I've played all five (offensive line positions) in my career at the University of Oregon and feel very confident in all five of those. I'd be ready to go wherever they needed me."

Obviously, that's what every draft pick says and, just as obviously, position flex doesn't guarantee him anything with the Saints. He'll be looking to earn a roster spot when the team assembles for training camp, same as any other undrafted rookie.

But it's no secret that New Orleans could use a backup swing tackle, a guy who could step in for Terron Armstead  on the left side or Ryan Ramczyk on the right side if either needed to miss time due to injury.

True, left guard Andrus Peat often has been a go-to when Armstead has been injured, and has shown the ability to handle the job. But the Saints wouldn't continue auditioning for the role if they wanted Peat to fill it, and that option disappears in the event Peat gets injured.

Better to find someone else to handle the job and, maybe, Throckmorton has the ability to do it. The 6-foot-5, 311-pounder knows he has a chance, because he's familiar with New Orleans' history of giving legitimate opportunities to undrafted rookies.

Two players who fit that category, returner Deonte Harris (undrafted in '19) and defensive back J.T. Gray ('18), made the roster in their respective years and were All-Pros last season.

"Just with their history of undrafted free agents and late-round picks, they just have a great history of developing those guys and having those guys make the team," Throckmorton said. "That, coupled with the O-line room and the guys in that, I was real excited to be a part of it."

Even with the position movement at Oregon, Throckmorton allowed just one sack over his final 45 games (3,224 snaps). As a senior, he started 12 games at right tackle and two at center and in '18, he started games at four positions (right and left tackle, right guard, center) without committing a penalty.

"It's like trying to write something with your off hand," he said. "Like, I started my career at right tackle and so when I've had to move to different positions – especially to the left side – it's a big change and it comes with a lot of preparation and learning and practice throughout those years.

"So that's what I've really just tried to make a part of myself in that preparation, making sure I'm as ready as possible when I step on that field and can play hard where I'm needed."

Throckmorton said he actually welcomed the chance to move around.

"I always knew I had the ability to play all across the offensive line," he said. "But at the same time, I didn't really get the opportunity until Coach (Mario) Cristobal became our O-line coach (in 2017) and we kind of had that new regime come in. They really gave me that green light to play all over the place and help wherever I could."

New Orleans offers that same opportunity to help. Throckmorton might possess the ability to take advantage of it.

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