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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The battles are on Several rookies to challenge veterans for playing time Posted: Wednesday May 3, 2006 1:35PM; Updated: Wednesday May 3, 2006 2:10PM The NFL draft is done, and now every team is starting the three-month process of fitting ...

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Old 05-04-2006, 05:00 AM   #1
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saints- battle-rookies vs vets

The battles are on
Several rookies to challenge veterans for playing time
Posted: Wednesday May 3, 2006 1:35PM; Updated: Wednesday May 3, 2006 2:10PM

The NFL draft is done, and now every team is starting the three-month process of fitting their new personnel pieces into the depth-chart puzzle before training camp opens. Here are eight interesting draft-inspired positional battles to keep an eye on.

• Reggie Bush vs. Deuce McAllister, New Orleans: Bush's surprising arrival in New Orleans isn't the best thing that has happened to McAllister, but it doesn't necessarily mean curtains for him as a Saint, the way his first-round selection in 2001 portended the end of the team's Ricky Williams era. At least in the short term, Bush and McAllister will be used in tandem, with the hope that the contrast in styles will keep defenses off balance and out of breath.

Bush won the Heisman last year sharing touches with LenDale White at USC, so it's not a blueprint that has to be made up from scratch. At some point, the eight-year, $50 million deal McAllister signed last summer may force the Saints to shop him, but events will likely dictate that. In the immediate future, Bush's presence will most affect the roster status of Saints reserve running backs Michael Bennett and Aaron Stecker. We're guessing Bennett would never have signed with the Saints in March had he known Bush was on the way.

• Roman Harper vs. Dwight Smith, New Orleans: In choosing Harper, an Alabama safety, in the second round, the Saints now have a real logjam at the position. New Orleans traded for Bryan Scott this offseason, and the former starter in Atlanta already was going to be in competition with the likes of free-agent signee Omar Stoutmire and incumbents Dwight Smith, Jay Bellamy and Josh Bullocks.

Club officials have confirmed that despite his productive 2005 season, Smith could be on the trading block. It stands to reason that New Orleans will have to part ways with at least one or two other safeties between now and the season opener.

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