Saints notebook: D-line now even more versatile

First-rounder Marcus Davenport is a key addition to the Saints' defensive line.Photo: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen: "We've got a bunch of different combinations"

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans has a lot of versatility on its defensive line. Last year's starting ends -- Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor -- both played inside on occasion, and tackle Sheldon Rankins played outside on occasion when injuries depleted the end corps.

The addition of No. 1 draft choice Marcus Davenport, an athletic end, to the group creates even more versatility.

"We've got a bunch of different combinations," defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen said. "We've got good depth guys that can play. We've got a bunch of different combinations of guys. We'll keep fine tuning the fundamentals and technique and who's working well together before we get to the first game."

--The starting offensive line is pretty well set, but nonetheless there are 17 linemen scheduled to compete in training camp. Tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk, guards Andrus Peat and Larry Warford and center Max Unger all have a strong grip on starting positions. But after Jermon Bushrod, who was brought in to replace Senio Kelemete (signed with Houston as a free agent), Josh LeRibeus and rookie fourth-round draft choice Rick Leonard, there are a dozen long shots fighting to find a way on to the roster.

--The specialists are all set as kicker Wil Lutz, punter Thomas Morstead and long snapper Zach Wood all enter training camp without competition.

--The Saints will hold joint practices with the Chargers on Aug. 23 and 24 before those teams' preseason game Aug. 25 in Los Angeles.

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