The inability to participate in team drills during the rookie minicamp this weekend didn’t dampen the enthusiasm that the New Orleans Saints have for Ryan Ramczyk, the second of their two first-round picks (No. 32 overall) this year. In fact, the team very much likes what it has seen from the Wisconsin tackle.
“He’s getting a lot of work, but he’s not getting the teamwork,” Coach Sean Payton said. “He probably is three to four weeks out (from returning) with his labrum, but he’s picking things up very quickly. He’s in good shape, and much further along than really we anticipated with his surgery. It’s been a good exposure.”
The surgery to repair the labrum in Ramczyk’s hip can be deemed as nothing less than a success, with him being ahead of schedule for his projected return.
“It’s been really good,” he said. “I think they were impressed with where I’m at right now and the rehab has been really good so far. I plan to keep it that way and keep looking ahead.
“I was a little ahead of protocol.”
Ramczyk said that he expects to be full go for training camp, where he is expected to line up at right tackle and be tutored by veteran Zach Strief. But before that happens, he joined 80 more players – the rest of the seven-member draft class, 19 participants under contract and 55 tryout players – for the minicamp.
“It’s been good, a lot of install going in right now, trying to figure everything out and then when my time comes, be able to put it out on the field,” he said. “But right now, getting in the notebook, studying. It’s been good so far.
“It’s tough not being able to go out there and compete with the guys and do all that. But for me, I know what I have to do. I know I’ve got to get in the playbook and understand the concepts and everything, so I’m just really focusing on that right now.”
His initial Saints experiences differs from that of fellow first-round pick Marshon Lattimore (No. 11 overall). The former Ohio State standout had hamstring issues in college but, as the consensus top cornerback in the draft, has shown no lingering effects of them.
Said Payton of Lattimore: “He’s doing well. Like the rest of these guys he’s going out there and getting the calls. We’re getting a lot installed right now. He’s a quick study, he’s picked it up.”
Lattimore said playing cornerback helps ease his transition.
“You’ve got to be prepared because there’s a lot of install that goes
in,” he said. “You’ve got to know your job, you’ve got to know what the safety is doing, it’s all mental right now. But we’re getting through it.
“It’s really pretty easy for the corners. You’ve just got to know what the safety is doing and what the calls are.”
Still, Lattimore said, even as the team’s top pick, the desire to compete has to be present.
“Everybody is competitive, everybody wants a job,” he said. “So you’ve got to go out there and be the best competitor you can be. You’ve got to step it up to a different level, but right now it’s like the ‘teach’ tempo. But you’ve still got to be competitive at the same time.”
UNGER POSSIBLY BACK IN PRESEASON: Payton gave an update on the foot injury and subsequent surgery for center Max Unger. “At the end of the season, on the X-ray, he had a little bit of a space there where you would call the Lisfranc,” Payton said. “And you can make one of two decisions. Dr. (Robert) Anderson (podiatrist in Charlotte, N.C.), who we think is one of the best foot guys in football, felt like, hey, let’s rest it, no need for a procedure.
“And when we got back and started in the offseason program, (the space) had increased a little bit. And he felt like putting a screw in it now is going to allow him plenty of time to rehab. We anticipate, probably, early August – I see him being able to possibly get into the preseason, our goal would be Week 3 (of the preseason). It wasn’t anything new, and yet we were hoping the rest would help it out. And we’re getting ahead of it.”
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