With Wilson out, young LB's hope to impress - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

With Wilson out, young LB's hope to impress

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Metairie, La. - When Martez Wilson went down on a collision with Rafael Bush at practice Monday, many feared the worst. Fortunately Wilson only dislocated his elbow, thus will only be out 2-4 weeks.

In his absence, three rookies- Rufus Johnson, Chase Thomas and Eric Martin are all hoping to make the most of the added reps.

"You never want to see anyone get hurt no matter how long," said Thomas, who signed as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford. "But you have to be able to jump in and be ready and show the coaches you can play."

"I'm just going to take advantage of every opportunity I get," said sixth round pick Johnson. "I understand that I am a rookie and I always want to prove myself every day."

"We've got enough numbers and really just getting a chance to see these in the team drills and some of the one-on-one drills and the individual stuff," head coach Sean Payton said.

All three have shown potential.

Johnson has pure speed around the edge to get to the quarterback.

"I'm a great pass rusher. I love to pass rush," said Johnson. "I think that's going to be my big strong suit. I can drop back in coverage but I think pass rushing is where I'm going to make my money."

Thomas has proven to be a quick study and has played both outside linebacker positions. Tuesday he got his first chance at first-team reps.

"They had me at the Jack and I wasn't playing that at all but I picked that up the night before," Thomas said. "And the next day they had me back to Sam."

Martin has opened eyes as well. Even before Wilson's injury, he was getting the majority of the second-team reps with Wilson. He's also shown a knack for big hits. On Monday, he leveled Travaris Cadet on a screen pass.

"That's what they want," said Martin, another undrafted rookie out of Nebraska. "They want you to be physical. They want you to hit everything that moves."

And for at least the next 2-4 weeks, all three players will have plenty of opportunities to do that.

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