The offensive line of the New Orleans Saints is in a desperate situation in the prospect of its match against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with injuries leaving aside Terron Armstead and Max Unger, and the sixth man, Jermon Bushrod. New Orleans added independent offensive striker Derek Newton earlier in December, but he hosted four more candidates on a test on Dec. 19.
By Howard Balzer from NFLDraftScout.com, the Saints attacked Nick Becton, Cornelius Lucas and Menelik Watson in a training session with offensive guard John Fullington. None of them was immediately signed.
Nick Becton was part of the training teams and trained 90 players for different teams: the San Diego Chargers, the New York Giants (twice), the New Orleans Saints, the Bears of Chicago, Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs. He ended the 2017 season as a good forward from the Giants, but failed to qualify for the final lineup in 2018.
Cornelius Lucas played 35 games with the Detroit Lions between 2014 and 2016, starting six times, before joining the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. He also played the right tackle, starting with the Rams in the final. the 2017 regular season. Lucas was lifted during the cuts to the Rams roster in August.
Menelik Watson was a second-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2013, never starting a full season and tearing an Achilles tendon during the 2015 pre-season. He signed with the Denver Broncos for a contract of three years and was to start right, but a calf injury in 2017 and a pectoralis injury in 2018 derailed these plans. He was released in September.
The final player on probation was John Fullington, registered as goalkeeper. Fullington set the Washington State Cougars record for consecutive starts, sharing time between the right guard and the right tackle. He joined the Green Bay Packers as an unprepared rookie in 2014, but did not make his roster. He signed with the San Francisco 49ers practice team. From there, he briefly signed with the Arizona Cardinals practice team, but was lifted after the 2016 NFL draft. The Saints quickly caught up with him and kept him in the training until December 2017, when he was promoted following the fracture of the left guard Andrus Peat's leg. Fullington himself was placed on the reserve of Saints injured in August 2018, but was released with a damage settlement a week later.
What does all this mean? The Saints seek reinforcements for their battered offensive line, that is clear. They have not signed any of these players, but they may add one or more in the future. It is interesting to note that the four free agents have experience of the right tackle rather than the left tackle: the position of Armstead and Bushrod, each separated by injuries. Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk was great on the right but played the leading role of the left tackle at college. Derek Newton, the likely replacement for Ramczyk, had already played in the right pass for the Houston Texans. Could the saints seek to move Ramczyk to the left, to encourage Newton from the right and to add a backup tackle to the right?