The Saints are forced to adjust on the offensive line, with Terron Armstead expected to miss a large portion of the season after shoulder surgery in June.
But they’re going to see if their latest first-round pick can handle the job before they consider moving a previous first-rounder.
Saints coach Sean Payton told the “Dunc & Holder” show on Sports 1280 AM that they’re going to let rookie Ryan Ramczyk and veteran Khalif Barnes compete for the job, rather than moving 2015 first-rounder Andrus Peat from left guard. Peat filled in at left tackle last year, but they want to let him concentrate on left guard unless they have to make a switch.
“The key for us during this time in which Terron is out is finding those answers,” Payton said. “How’s Ryan look? (He’s) a young player. We were fortunate to have Khalif back in real good shape, and we’re deeper at that position than in probably any of the years we’ve been here.
“When you’re able to take a tackle in the first round, in the end of the first round, like a guy like Ramczyk. That’s a huge pick, so I’m anxious to see how he does (and) how the veteran (Barnes) does before moving Andrus there in a rotation. I like the work he’s had at left guard, but we have some flexibility.”
Armstead, along with center Max Unger (foot surgery) will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list. That is throwing the Saints line into flux, though they’re hoping Unger will be ready by the start of the regular season.