After Further Review: Assessing the Saints through eight practices

After Further Review: Assessing the Saints through eight practices

(WVUE) - We may not have technically hit the midway point of the entire Saints' training camp, but we are officially on the back half of our time here in West Virginia. With that in mind, now feels like to a good time to assess the first wave of camp.

Offensive MVP: Michael Thomas

The easy answer would be Drew Brees, who has looked like Drew Brees this camp, but I have to go Thomas. His presence has added a dimension to this offense that they have not had in quite some time. I don't think the Saints thought they would get this much of an impact from Thomas this quickly.

Defensive MVP: Delvin Breaux/Cam Jordan

The two most consistent players on the Saints defense last season have remained that way through training camp. Jordan has been dominant in one-on-one drills and has been force at the line of scrimmage during team drills.

Breaux recorded his first interception of camp Thursday and easily has the most pass break-ups of any defensive back. What's struck me most is how much more physical he's been jamming at the line of scrimmage. He's absolutely smothering wide receivers to the point where they can't even reach the five yard zone to get free.

Top Rookie: Michael Thomas

How can the offensive MVP not be the top rookie? Whether it's highlight catches downfield or tough catches in traffic, Thomas is making them all during camp. His best attribute is that he doesn't look like a rookie on the field and has really been the star of camp early on.

Undrafted Riser: Tommylee Lewis

This is always one of my favorite parts of camp to watch. Every year an undrafted player comes from out of nowhere to make a statement during training camp. There's been a few candidates this camp but the biggest has been TommyLee Lewis. Lewis is dynamic with the ball in his hands with remarkable cutting ability, every practice he seems to make a "wow" play. He can really help his cause by contributing in the return game.

Honorable Mentions: CB Ken Crawley,CB Devante Harris, TE Rashaun Allen, C Jack Allen

Biggest Position Battle: Left Guard

Tim Lelito and Senio Kelemete are supposed to be battling it out. The problem is with Terron Amstead out, both players have played with the first team. Lelito has stayed mainly on the right side with Kelemete on the left though they have traded spots at times. Once Andrus Peat shifts to his likely spot of right guard, the competition between these two will get heavier.

Toughest Cut: Running back

Numbers are numbers and right now the Saints have six running backs on their roster. Mark Ingram and CJ Spiller are in. After those two Travaris Cadet, Tim Hightower, Marcus Murphy, and Daniel Lasco are battling for two or possibly three spots depending on special teams. Each of those players have a valid argument to be on the roster. I'll be curious to see if they keep five and not keep a fullback.

Biggest Concern: Weakside Defensive End

None of those great defensive things I've described in previous posts will mean a thing if the Saints cannot find an effective player at this spot. Kasim Edebali, Obum Gwacham, and Davis Tull are battling to be the starter in this spot. Each have had their moments at camp but the true test will come will the games count for real. Hopefully one can emerge as a legitimate option. The Saints are adequate enough at just about every other position on defense.

Most Improved: P.J. Williams

Andrus Peat could've easily been put in this slot, but Williams gets it simply because we had no idea his skill set from last year until now. Williams has shown versatility playing inside and outside an has been very active getting his hands on passes. He picked off Brees in the red zone Friday. He looks very ready to contribute in 2016.

Top Free Agent: Coby Fleener

The free agent class as a whole has been impressive but Fleener has stood above the rest. It's evident he and Drew Brees are clicking. The pair has connected for several big plays on a diversity of routes. Fleener looks poised for a breakout season. 

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