New Orleans Saints: How Alvin Kamara fits in backfield
Only days after signing Adrian Peterson, the New Orleans Saints drafted Alvin Kamara out of Tennesse. It’s a bold move but one that might just pay off.
Less than a week before the 2017 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints signed Adrian Peterson to a two-year contract. It seemed all hope of drafting a running back was gone. The Saints didn’t think so, as they drafted Alvin Kamara. A puzzling move on the surface, signing Kamara could be exactly what they need to shake up their backfield.
With three guys now looking at starting positions, it’s hard to imagine this being a smart move for the team. The team’s workhorse for the past six seasons has been Mark Ingram. Ingram has only gotten better with age, recording his best performance last year. Paired with Tim Hightower, the two made up a dynamic duo until Hightower signed with 49ers. Ingram seemed to be their guy until their meeting with Peterson.
After a meeting and no contract, it seemed the team was passing on AP. It shocked the football world when the Saints announced the two-year deal with the future Hall-Of-Famer. I don’t even need to go into Peterson’s stats because the guy’s amazing.
Even prior to the draft, though, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said this of sporting both Peterson and Ingram, via the Saints official website:
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“We’ve always had multiple backs. You need multiple backs and we’ve always used all the backs on our roster every year. So, I think he and Mark will complement each other. They’ll carry the load and we’ll see how that evolves in a course of a season.”
Kind of a nice way of saying, well, we’ll figure out the starter later. Loomis also mentioned the draft too, saying:
“There’s a lot of good running backs in this draft. Obviously, all things being equal we would probably be less inclined to take a running back, but I can’t say that until we get into the draft and see who’s available and how our draft board looks when it’s our turn to pick.”
Obviously, the team was inclined and they picked up Alvin Kamara.
Kamara can’t even touch the experience of Peterson and Ingram, but he brings something special to the backfield. As a rookie, he has a chance to learn from the two like when Melvin Gordon trained with Peterson last offseason. Just compare the numbers between Gordon’s rookie and sophomore season.
Peterson isn’t the only one Kamara can learn from, though. Ingram will be the real teacher, educating Kamara on the Saints’ playbook and offensive scheme. Ingram might not have the big numbers like Peterson does, but he has experience with the Saints. From the way it looks now, Kamara will be the running back of the future.
I don’t see Kamara getting much playing time in the regular season. They’ll probably give him a chance to work in some preseason games and will likely see his role be on passing downs as a receiving threat out of the backfield — a role he played in college. His role in the backfield won’t be large, but it’s necessary. He might not make a huge impact now, but down the road, it’ll be his turn. Drafting him could a blessing in disguise for the New Orleans Saints.