Of the 90 players currently on the Saints roster, nearly 30 of those are rookies. With only 53 spots on the regular season roster, competition has been stiff during OTAs and mini-camp and will continue through training camp, which begins in late July.
Undrafted rookie and former Arkansas standout Jerico Nelson is among the plethora of rookies eyeing to make the Saints regular season roster.
Nelson was born and raised in New Orleans and was a standout football player at Destrehan High School. So far, he has put himself in good position to make his hometown team.
“He is vocal and confident,” Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnulo said of Nelson. “When you are a safety in this system, you have to be that way because other people are listening to you. I am really impressed with what he has done to this point with the mental (aspect) and we will find out more about the physical and the athletic talent when we get pads on. I am very impressed.”
Nelson played in 49 games over four seasons for the Razorbacks, making 169 tackles, 27 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, four interceptions, nine pass defenses, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Last year as a senior, he recorded 70 stops (33 solo), 5.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two interceptions, two pass defenses and one fumble recovery.
“I feel good just making sure I hit my playbook and ready to go,” said Nelson. “I have to keep grinding and earn my way to a roster spot.”
One area that Nelson already has an advantage in over the other rookies is dealing with Louisiana’s weather.
“It was very hot today to be honest,” said Nelson after the first day of mini-camp. “Just by growing up here my whole life I think I can adapt to it better than most players. I just make sure I stay hydrated and stretch a lot.”
Nelson said he has a lot of friends and family members in the area rooting for him and that they are already asking for jerseys and tickets. Nelson appreciates the support but gives all request seekers the same answer.
“I tell them I still have a lot of work to do,” said Nelson. “I have to finish this offseason strong to make sure I make the team.”
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