5 Most Interesting “Brand New Faces” to Watch at 2020 Saints Training Camp

Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert / New Orleans Saints on Twitter

The New Orleans Saints have started their 2020 Training Camp and have began conducting practices, although it’s a much different atmosphere this year at the team’s Training Facility without having any fans in attendance and a limited amount of media members able to report on the daily activities; due to the on-going impact of the current nation-wide COVID-19 / coronavirus health crisis.

That said, in spite of the different approach to Training Camp this season, the Black and Gold are still attempting to conduct “business as usual” as much as they possibly can; and that includes evaluating the “brand new faces” of both rookie and veteran players who recently have become a part of the team’s roster this past off-season.

With that thought in mind, here at Big Easy Magazine we’re taking a quick look at the 5 most interesting of those handful of “brand new faces” at Camp at the moment, and give a few thoughts on how they might impact the team moving forward with the 2020 Season Opener at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just a month away.

Starting first with….


Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert / New Orleans Saints on Twitter

Trautman is expected to see a fair amount of playing time given his rather obvious talent that has drawn many comparisons to current San Francisco 49ers All-Pro TE George Kittle, although it’s expected that he will have his hands full trying to earn the #2 TE spot behind starting #1 TE Jared Cook.

That’s because the sensational rookie from the University of Dayton will need to beat out current Saints #2 TE Josh Hill, who despite his shortcomings at catching passes is a dominant “in-line” blocker and still remains a favorite of head coach Sean Payton.

Nevertheless, the Saints drafted Trautman to eventually become the starter at the TE position heading into the future, and it will be interesting to see how much of an impression that he can make upon the coaching staff at Camp over the course of these next few weeks, and whether or not it can lead to him seeing a significant amount of game action as a rookie early in the season.


Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert / New Orleans Saints on Twitter

The team’s 3rd Round pick out of the University of Wisconsin, Baun likely will present a very stiff challenge for the starting role at strongside / “Sam” linebacker. against 4th year veteran LB Alex Anzalone; who himself is also very talented but has battled a series of nagging injuries which have kept him out of the starting line-up and forced the team to shuffle other players in and out of that role.

Baun particularly excels as a pass-rusher coming off of the outside edge, and it’s for that reason why the Saints defensive coaching staff and new LB coach Michael Hodges are excited about the prospect of Baun coming in and having an immediate impact as a rookie.

But to what degree and ultimately how much of an impact he can provide for the LB corps as a whole, most very likely will be determined over the course of the next few weeks if he can somehow manage to outperform Anzalone; in spite of not having any Preseason games this year where that evaluation would be much more apparent.


Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert / New Orleans Saints on Twitter

Perhaps no one particular “brand new face” on the Saints roster has had more of an impact upon the anticipation and overall excitement of Who Dat fans than the 5-foot-11, 180 pound and 10th year veteran Sanders, who can play at both the outside and slot receiver positions, and has achieved near-legendary status among teammates and opponents alike for his phenomenal route-running capabilities.

Sanders unfortunately hasn’t had much of an opportunity to learn the offense and get “in synch” with starting QB Drew Brees during the recent off-season, outside of a few days that the two spent together working out at Sanders’ home in suburban Denver, Colorado; but it likely won’t take long for him to get up to speed.

Most League observers believe that Payton and the Saints will utilize Sanders’ multiple talents and skill-set in a role similar to that of past Saints WR’s Lance Moore and Willie Snead, but the bottom line is that he will give the Saints a LEGITIMATE 2nd option at the WR position that they’ve been sorely lacking as opponents continue trying to double-team (and even triple-team) All-Pro # 1 receiver Michael Thomas.


Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert / New Orleans Saints on Twitter

Stevens, who the Saints took with their final selection in Round #7 of the Draft this past April, was a college quarterback at Penn State University and then again at Mississippi State University after he transferred there, but his future in the NFL is expected to be a “jack of all trades”, in a role very similar to that of current Saints QB / WR/ special teams “ace” Taysom Hill.

However, the Saints yesterday on their official team roster had Stevens listed at the tight end position, where the 6-foot-5, 237 pound Stevens is expected to play initially while the team determines just how much that they plan on using him in a wide variety of other roles similar to how they’ve used Taysom Hill in the past few seasons (to that point: the Saints assigned him jersey #85, although he wore jersey #1 in the initial practice).

With the Saints already having Brees, Taysom, and now Jameis Winston in the fold in addition to Stevens, it’s unlikely that the versatile rookie will see any playing time at the QB position itself. However, it still will be more than interesting to see just how Payton and the coaching staff will devise a way to use a player who gives their offense not one but now TWO offensive ‘weapons’; that can potentially challenge NFL defenses on any given play or snap of the football.


Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert / New Orleans Saints on Twitter

Last but not least, we come to QB Jameis Winston; who became a “brand new face” for the Saints after they signed him this off-season once he was released by division rival Tampa Bay (who signed former 6-time Super Bowl champion QB Tom Brady to replace him) after 5 NFL seasons. The 26-year old Winston as of now is expected to battle the previously-mentioned Taysom Hill to become the team’s back-up #2 QB not only just for the upcoming 2020 NFL Season, but to also possibly become the franchise’s new starter at QB after Drew Brees retires.

But first Winston will need to show improvement in his decision-making abilities as a potential leader of the offensive unit, due to his results last season with Tampa Bay in which he actually threw the most interceptions (30) in the League in the past 40 years. If Winston can become a much more efficient passer and significantly reduce the amount of mistakes that seemingly had derailed his once-promising NFL career, it could give Payton and his offensive coaching staff a tough evaluation (especially without the Preseason games this year) and eventual choice to make, between Winston and Taysom.

So far, Payton has been very complimentary of Winston and it’s believed that if Brees were to get injured somehow once again (God forbid) this season, that he (Coach Payton) would defer to Winston over Taysom Hill because of his previous experience of 5 years as a full-time starting NFL QB. Nevertheless, whether Winston is officially named as the #2 back-up behind Brees or not over Hill, everyone is hoping his addition to the team gives the Black and Gold a much better option at QB behind Brees, with the departure of former #2 back-up Teddy Bridgewater….

Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked previously as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending their games as a young boy during the early 1970’s, uptown at the old Tulane Stadium. He is also the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryHirstius

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