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Saints Nation: Training Camp Position Battle Preview – Centers

This concludes the individual positions on the offensive side of the ball, though I wouldn't really consider this one a "battle". The Saints currently carry two "centers" on the roster, but like the fullback position they'll likely only keep one and use guys that play another position as depth. So the backup interior lineman (or guards) will likely spell the starter, much like the backup tight ends seem most likely to spell Jed Collins. That said, here are the players:

Brian de la Puente: Probably one of the most unlikely success stories in team history. Not only was de la Puente an undrafted rookie free agent in 2008, but he bounced around the league from roster to roster for years. He had stints with the 49ers twice, Seahawks twice, Chiefs and Panthers over the course of three seasons never playing in an NFL game. Then he came to Saints' camp on 2011 as a long shot to make the team. He barely made the roster as a backup, but when Olin Kreutz imploded four games into the 2011 campaign, de la Puente was handed the starting center role. We all assumed that was likely to turn into a disaster, but he's never looked back starting all 28 possible games since then. It could not have turned out better in any of our collective wildest dreams, including de la Puente's. He's become a well rounded center that is very capable in pass protection and run blocking alike. The route he took to becoming an unquestioned starter has about a 0.001% success rate. In some ways that makes finding him all the more fortunate and a great story. He is a lock to start.

Elliott Mealer: He's an undrafted rookie free agent from Michigan with nice size. He's a long shot to make the roster but it's hard not to root for him when you read his personal story. Mealer did have a lot of blocking experience on special teams for years before becoming the starter at center his senior year, and that experience will help him backups need to provide versatility to have a shot at the roster. Maybe he's a practice squad candidate.

Prediction: de la Puente is the starter, of course, and I'll be rooting to see Mealer on the practice squad.

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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