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iceshack149 05-05-2003 11:59 PM

Fitting In
SAINTS NOTEBOOK: Top picks learn plenty

By Chris Pika, May 4, 2003, 1:30 p.m.

For top draft picks DT Johnathan Sullivan and T Jon Stinchcomb, it was a great weekend and a huge learning experience as the Saints finished their 2003 Mini-Camp with a single workout on Sunday morning.

"I just wanted to get back to playing football," said Sullivan, who like most of the top players spent time prior to the draft working out and being interviewed by interested clubs.

There is a lot thrown at the rookies during their first weekend in the NFL. Playbooks, film study and figuring out how things are done in the league is all part of the learning experience for everyone.

"The playbook was easier for me because it was set up like the one we had at Georgia," said Sullivan. "If I did something wrong on the field, the veterans let me know what I need to do to correct it."

"I've learned a lot so far," said Stinchcomb, Sullivan's teammate with the Bulldogs. "It's been a heck of a process, but it's just the beginning. I didn't expect to come out here and be a world-beater, but my goal is to get better and start to fit in."

Unlike Sullivan, who is locked into the defensive tackle position, Stinchcomb has the skills to play in several different locations on the offensive line. "I want to be prepared for whatever role the team wants me to fill," Stinchcomb said. "I've taken snaps at tackle and guard and I'm just looking forward to helping this team."

"He can play almost any position on the line, including center," said Coach Jim Haslett about Stinchcomb. "That's just something that has to play out."

For all of the draftees, it's back to school as they will return to New Orleans in a couple of weeks after their classes finish up. "I'm looking forward to the time off and getting back home with my family," said Sullivan. "Then it will be time to get back here and get ready for the season."

HASLETT ON MINI-CAMP: Haslett was generally pleased with the team's five workouts over the weekend, especially the effort of the drafted players and the rookie free agents. "All of the guys we signed and drafted came here physically and mentally up to speed about being true professionals," Haslett said. "It was a good learning experience for them. Later in the year, things go faster and faster and they have to be ready. This weekend was just the tip of it."

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