Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Saints Nation: Usama Young moving to Free Safety?

The many articles I've read since the draft have alluded to Usama Young being moved to Free Safety. While I've yet to read a direct quote saying as much, it is all coming from interviews had with Sean Payton; so we can trust the information as true. With the Malcolm Jenkins draft pick and Jabari Greer free agency pickups, it was going to be hard for Young to get much action at corner; the move makes sense. Out of nowhere the safety position is starting to get pretty crowded, though, and I wonder who's the odd man out. Suddenly the safety position counts 6 players: projected starters Darren Sharper and Roman Harper, free agent pickup Pierson Prioleau, rookie Chip Vaughn, and veteran backup/special team standouts Young and Chris Reis.

I just can't see them keeping 6 guys. Obviously this is a good problem to have and you can't ignore the possibility of an injury in training camp which would ease the coaching staff's decision in letting one of these guys go. Realistically the Saints will keep 4 of these guys, and maybe 5. Currently they've got Sharper, Prioleau, Vaughn and Young (in that order) listed as the depth chart at free. At strong they've got just Harper and Reis. One would think Reis is the odd man out from the 6, but he's been a special team ace for the Saints and is currently listed as one of two strong safeties. I still believe Prioleau and Vaughn are better fits at strong, but the Saints are currently trying them out at free. So who is the odd man out? Time will tell, but I wonder how secure Darren Sharper's job with the Saints is. He signed a one year deal for very little money and if he gets bumped from the starting lineup after a bad training camp I can't see him sticking around because the guys behind him are much better special teamers. I also wonder if Usama Young is in jeopardy of losing his roster spot. Like Reis he is very valuable as a special teamer, but he's being thrown into a new position, and if he can't adjust quickly he might find himself out. I could be wrong but barring injury I think Prioleau, Vaughn and Harper's jobs are currently the most secure. Prioleau has played for Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams on 3 different teams and it's pretty clear he counts on him. Vaughn is a promising rookie and I doubt the Saints would give up on him in year one. Harper is a returning starter and he's shown flashes of playmaking ability.

One thing is for sure: it will be very interesting to see how this training camp battle for roster spots play out.