5 takeaways from Saints DT Khalen Saunders’ introductory press convention

There was a transparent line drawn between the New Orleans Saints’ latest free-agent signers. Tradition. Effectively, okay, two steady traces: tradition and management. New defensive sort out Khalen Saunders epitomized each qualities when he was unveiled on Friday.

The four-year-old centerback got here to the NFL from a small faculty and was instantly a part of two Tremendous Bowl winners’ lists with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. So the Saints not solely discovered a frontrunner in Saunders, in addition they discovered a winner.

Saunders impressed in his opening press convention late final week. Each in his self-image and within the alternative earlier than him. Listed below are a number of the largest takeaways from his time within the media in New Orleans.

He desires to show he’s greater than only a huge man within the center

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“Clearly, on the sphere, you possibly can inform by my physique that I’m extra of a operating participant,” Saunders stated when requested about his on-field contributions to his new group. “Huge physique. You recognize, I undoubtedly use power in my arms and stuff like that. And simply athletics, too. Simply uncooked athletics. I’m proud to be an athlete.”

Very like the group’s new operating again Jamaal Williams, Saunders is eager to show he’s greater than only a huge man who can mess up the center of the line of defense. The 324-pound lineman doesn’t thoughts being perceived as a “Mauler” by others. As a result of he has nice confidence in his athleticism, his sturdy arms and “good toes”, as he referred to as them.

Saunders sees itself as a unifier off the sphere

The emphasis on tradition was the toughest to disregard as Saunders started discussing how he builds relationships with gamers in his dressing rooms. The previous Chiefs defenseman exclaimed on social media how rough the free hand was for him. When requested on Friday concerning the worry he expressed, he went on to debate that it was a mixture of feelings that every one stemmed from how ingrained the relationships he’s forging are.

The story goes on

“I’ve a number of brothers in my precise household, and as quickly as I be a part of a group, I see it as including… What a 90-man squad? I’m including 90 new brothers. I’ll deal with them as such regardless of who stays or not. You’ll be able to ask anybody I’ve ever been a teammate with, we’re nonetheless in contact. I don’t care if you happen to spent two days within the drill squad. I don’t care if we performed collectively for 4 years. I’ll deal with you a similar approach.”

Saunders already has a couple of pals within the Saints dressing room

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The brand new Saints defender could also be in a brand new metropolis however he has many acquainted faces within the dressing room. After agreeing the phrases of his 3-year, $14.5 million contract with New Orleans, he turned to Saints defensive finish Tanoh Kpassagnon. The 2 overlapped in Kansas Metropolis throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He and Kpassagnon spoke over the cellphone.

Alternatively, he and one other, now team-mate, security Tyrann Mathieu met up for dinner on his arrival on the Huge Simple. Whereas their delicacies selections weren’t impressed by New Orleans (Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse), a minimum of it wasn’t Chipotle. The 2 met over dinner to speak concerning the transfer to New Orleans and, after all, alternate concepts. The 2 frolicked with the Chiefs from 2019 to 2021 till Mathieu signed with the Saints final yr.

And it doesn’t cease there. Whereas not at present on the roster as a full free agent, Daniel Sorensen was additionally in Kansas Metropolis from the 2019 by 2021 season. Now, all 4 may very well be reunited right here in New Orleans until Sorensen will get a deal elsewhere or doesn’t return to the Saints roster. However both approach, Saunders can have chemistry with a number of the defenders round him.

He is usually a recruiting prodigy

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Saunders stated he was typically assigned recruits to host throughout his keep in western Illinois. He estimated he had housed about 20 recruits throughout his years there. Seems he was fairly good in any respect. Saunders is pretty sure solely two of his potential new teammates have signed elsewhere. He’s additionally fairly certain it wasn’t his fault.

“And the one purpose I misplaced two of them,” Saunders stated. “It was most likely as a result of you are able to do a partial scholarship in FCS. In FBS it’s both full or nothing. FCS you possibly can go to 75% blah blah blah. I feel that’s the one purpose I misplaced two of them as a result of they had been full from someplace. However in any other case I’m virtually undefeated.”

In reality, virtually undefeated. Maybe after his NFL profession, a future down the recruiting path for a college athletic program may very well be on the horizon. Or possibly the Saints may attempt to use his gross sales abilities whereas they’re right here in New Orleans for a couple of off-seasons.

He comes from an offensive group and appears ahead to a defensive system

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Saunders says he spoke to Mathieu over dinner about the kind of protection the Saints are operating and the place he’ll slot in. He careworn that he was notably excited by the “attacking nature” of the system and the way it will enable him and others to put their ears and play with effort and aggression. However he went on to precise how excited he’s concerning the change in focus from Kansas Metropolis to New Orleans by way of which facet of the ball will get the glory.

“After which simply that it’s such a historic defensive group,” he stated. “A historic defensive metropolis. It’s stunning man. I’ve had the posh of taking part in with an attacking group and that’s good, it’s enjoyable. However I’m undoubtedly trying ahead to a standard protection.” You certain have come a good distance for the reason that 2014-2016 seasons, proper?

Story initially appeared on Saints Wire


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