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Great Article on Newly Signed Pick Roman Harper

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; HITTING GROUND RUNNING Rookie safety Roman Harper is proving to be a quick study Tuesday, August 01, 2006 By Jimmy Smith JACKSON, MISS. -- His body worn down by the rigors of two-a-day training camp practices in the searing Mississippi ...

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Old 08-01-2006, 07:16 AM   #1
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Great Article on Newly Signed Pick Roman Harper

HITTING GROUND RUNNING Rookie safety Roman Harper is proving to be a quick study
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
By Jimmy Smith
JACKSON, MISS. -- His body worn down by the rigors of two-a-day training camp practices in the searing Mississippi heat for three days, Saints rookie safety Roman Harper would have preferred not having to respond to an early wake-up call today to participate in the team's conditioning drill.

Harper, the team's second-round draft choice from Alabama, will join the team's more celebrated first-round pick, Reggie Bush, early this morning to run the 300-yard shuttles that everyone else got out of the way Friday morning, as Harper's agent was putting the finishing touches on a four-year contract.

"I'm not looking forward to it," Harper said between Monday practices. "I didn't get the contract done in time, and I've got to do this conditioning test. And I've been going through three days of two-a-days, and all of a sudden now I've got to do a conditioning test? I don't understand it, but it's part of it."

Harper laughed at the incongruity of it all: He has survived three grueling days of double workouts that have tested his stamina.

And still he must prove his cardiovascular excellence to Coach Sean Payton.

"I've been doing two-a-days, and now they've got to see if I'm in condition," Harper said, shaking his head. "It's kind of weird. It's going to be early. The biggest problem is me not wanting to do it. But I'll handle it accordingly and just go ahead and knock it out."

Then he'll return to the practice field this afternoon and continue the steady progress he has been making so far, graduating to the NFL from Alabama, all while being burdened with perfecting the nuances of a new position: strong safety.

But though Harper had just one year in Tuscaloosa playing that spot, Saints secondary coach Tom Hayes said his development thus far has been exemplary.

"I think Roman is on a good path; he's making good progress," Hayes said. "He's a dedicated guy. He's got a lot of talent. He's going through a big learning curve, as a rookie naturally does. But he's handling it. He'll make a mistake in the morning practice, and he'll come back and correct it in the afternoon.

"That's what I'm encouraged about. He doesn't keep repeating the same mistakes."

Hayes first noticed that ability in minicamp, not long after the draft, when the coaching staff was force-feeding the newcomers as much information as possible, hoping for quick assimilation.

Harper took the education very seriously, according to Hayes.

"He's real conscientious," Hayes said. "But he's not too hard on himself where he's his own worst enemy. He understands he'll make some mistakes, but you need to correct them. And he has. He's been good that way."

Harper admits he studies the defensive playbook each night before going to sleep and each morning before the first practice session.

"You want to know what you're doing," Harper said. "You want to at least show the coaches you know, because they always ask. So I always try to know what I'm doing and be in the right place."

So despite earning his degree in management in 2005, Harper still has his nose in the books.

"The day you stop learning is the day you die," he said. "You always try to learn something new every day. My dad (Ronald) taught me that. I try to stick by it."

Through the first few days of practices, Harper said, the coaches set an easy mental pace, rehashing schemes that had first been implemented during minicamps and offseason training sessions.

But Monday, Harper said, he noticed some new and unfamiliar assignments being gradually introduced into the routine.

Through Monday's two workouts, though, Harper managed to survive without being singled out for major mistakes.

He's slight for an NFL strong safety, 5 feet 11, just a shade over 200 pounds. But his well-chiseled physique and strength convinced the Saints he could make the switch from free safety to strong, where he'll have to attack closer to the line in run support, in addition to pass coverage, often against a bigger tight end.

"He was very willing (to run support) in college," Hayes said. "So I assume he'll be the same. Well find all that out in the preseason games."

Payton said Monday the Saints had several players identified as possible second-round picks after securing Bush, Harper among a few others.

"We had high grades on him. High enough to where his magnet stood differently than the rest," Payton said. "I think that if you can trust that a little bit, you're going to end up with a better player."

But one who still has to pass the head coach's conditioning test.
He impressed me in this article. He seems like a really intelligent kid who is mature enough already to know that understanding the schemes might be the biggest problem for a rookie and he's focusing on that every day. Very nice to hear.
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Old 08-01-2006, 08:05 AM   #2
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RE: Great Article on Newly Signed Pick Roman Harper

He appears to be the kind of Player Haslett avoided, average measurables but off the charts intangibles.
He's just a good football player. He may never be great, but he can play in this league for a long time.
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Old 08-01-2006, 08:20 AM   #3
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RE: Great Article on Newly Signed Pick Roman Harper

solid starter for years before anyone say pro bowl with his name. sounds like a sammy knight to me. but I am still scratching my head. as long as i do not pull the last few hairs left out, then things will be ok.
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Old 08-01-2006, 08:46 AM   #4
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:03 PM   #5
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Good to hear hes comin around, if he keeps makin this progress he'll probaly start...He and Bullocks are the future
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:25 PM   #6
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will smith the furture???????? he is already here no future.... dont understand your sig....... and you like to use the FUTURE** tooooooo much.........
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:36 PM   #7
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I think Harper will turn out to be
one of our best DB.

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