Early this week, Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said that he wouldn’t do anything to make first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro’s transition to the professional ranks more difficult than it needs to be.
He isn’t the only veteran safety in New Orleans to take a welcoming stance toward a player who could conceivably wind up taking his job. Roman Harper said that he expected to see the Saints draft a safety this year and that he was happy with any addition that will help the defense because “it’s not about any particular player” when making decisions about how to get better as a team.
“Of course. And the biggest thing is, we needed to draft a safety at some point this year. I’m what, Year 8? Malcolm is in the last year of his deal. It’s part of the business. If you don’t think that’s gonna happen, you’re wrong,” said Harper, via Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “So I’m looking forward to the competition. I’ve seen some of the things that we’re installing. Looks like we’ve got some different things that we can really make some things go. So it’s gonna be good.”
It’s not an attitude we always see from veteran players when they face their likely replacements, but it is the most realistic one as well as being the one that’s best for the team. There was some question early this offseason about whether or not the Saints would hold onto Harper, who is set to make $5.25 million in 2013. The Saints have already guaranteed half that salary, so Harper’s roster spot is likely safe and all he can really do now is play as well as possible so that he can wash away any lingering memories of a mediocre 2012 season in hopes of securing a job in the years to come.