Saquan Hampton Jersey

With the 177th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Saints selected defensive back Saquan Hampton from Rutgers University.

Check out the full biography on Saquan Hampton:

COLLEGE CAREER – An extremely-productive, four-year letterman at Rutgers who became a contributor as a freshman and started his final three seasons for the Scarlet Knights. Departed with career totals of 177 tackles (120 solo), seven stops behind the line of scrimmage, five interceptions, 24 pass defenses and one fumble recovery.

2018 – Started all 12 games at free safety…Named honorable mention All Big Ten by the coaches and media…Earned Homer Hazel Award as the team’s most valuable player…Tied for the Big Ten lead and ranked 12th nationally with 1.3 passes defended per game…Led the Scarlet Knights with 13 passes defensed and three interceptions…Totaled 65 tackles with three for a loss…Had a team‐high 36 tackles in pass coverage…Also recovered a fumble…Picked up three solo tackles, two pass breakups and an interception in final collegiate game at Michigan State (11/24)…Recorded six tackles, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery on Senior Day against No. 16 Penn State (11/17)…Matched career-high and led the game with 11 tackles versus No. 4 Michigan (11/10), adding one pass deflected in coverage…Defended four passes with two interceptions and two pass breakups at Wisconsin (11/3), adding 10 tackles with one for a loss…Posted five tackles with one for a loss and broke up two passes against Northwestern (10/20)…Knocked away a pass and recorded four tackles versus Illinois (10/6)…Added five stops against Indiana (9/29) …Broke up four passes versus Buffalo (9/22) …Had six tackles at Kansas (9/15)…Recorded seven solo stops at No. 4 Ohio State (9/8)…Started the season opener against Texas State (9/1) and recorded a tackle …Voted a team captain.

2017 – Played in eight games with seven starts at free safety…Totaled 38 tackles and three pass breakups on the season…Recorded nine tackles versus No. 16 Michigan State (11/25)…Added five stops at Indiana (11/18)…Returned to action at No. 14 Penn State (11/11) and made one tackle…Broke up a pass and made a tackle on the first defensive series versus No. 11 Ohio State (9/30) …Totaled 10 stops in the Big Ten opener at Nebraska (9/23)…Collected eight tackles versus Eastern Michigan (9/9), adding one punt return for four yards…Started the season opener against No. 8 Washington (9/1) at free safety and totaled four tackles and two pass breakups.

2016 – Started seven games at free safety…Totaled 46 tackles with three for loss and one interception…Picked up eight stops in finale at Maryland (11/26)…Made game‐high 11 tackles and knocked away a pass against No. 9 Penn State (11/19)…Intercepted a pass with a 30‐yard return and collected six tackles with one for a loss versus Indiana (11/5)…Picked up eight tackles at Minnesota (10/22)…Missed five games due to injury…Started the opener at No. 14 Washington (9/3) and made two tackles with one for loss.

2015 – Played in 12 games with one start at safety…Also a contributor on special teams…Totaled 28 tackles, one interception and two pass breakups for the season…Tied for the team lead with nine stops in first career start against Maryland (11/28)…Broke up one pass and made two tackles in the victory at Army (11/21)…Recorded his first career interception vs. Nebraska (11/14)…Made six tackles at No. 16 Michigan (11/7)…Had three stops at Wisconsin (10/31)…Recorded a tackle on kickoff coverage at Penn State (9/19)…Logged a solo tackle versus Washington State (9/12)…Made collegiate debut in the win over Norfolk State (9/5) and tied team lead with four tackles…Earned the Douglas A. Smith Award, which is given to the most improved defensive player during spring practice.

2014 – Did not see game action…Redshirted.

PERSONAL – Played football at Nottingham (Hamilton, N.J.)…Totaled 17 tackles, four interceptions, averaged more than 38 yards per kickoff return and averaged 13 yards per punt return as a senior…Scored a touchdown off a punt return, kick return and interception…Additionally recorded 12 carries for 160 yards and a score and five receptions for 73 yards on offense…Team reached Central Jersey, Group IV semifinals…Named First Team All‐Group IV, first-team All‐South Jersey and first-team All‐Colonial Valley Conference…Earned Frank “Mammy” Piscopo Memorial Award, given to the area’s Player of the Year by the 12th Man Touchdown Club Dinner…Helped team win Central Jersey Group III championship as a junior, going 11‐1…A consensus three‐star recruit…Rated as the 23rd‐best prospect by Rivals…Played multiple positions in high school in addition to special teams…Attended Rutgers football camp…Labor and employment relations major.

On the final day of the 2019 NFL draft, former Rutgers safety Saquan Hampton was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 177th overall pick. He was the first RU player selected this year after two were chosen last year (Kemoko Turay and Sebastian Joseph). Saquan arrived on the banks as a three-star safety out of Hamilton North. He started parts of four seasons, but didn’t realize his full potential until his 5th year as a redshirt senior in 2018. He was a one man wrecking crew late in the season after something must have clicked, or perhaps he was finally healthy for the first time.

The potential the coaches saw in him peaked at the right time. Hampton (6’1, 206 lb.) improved his stock at the NFL combine with a 4.48 40 time and other solid numbers. At Rutgers Pro Day he performed a 36.5” vertical (would have been 6th at the combine among safeties), 6.98 3 cone (would have been 6th), 4.28 20 yard shuttle, and 11.47 60 yard shuttle (would have been 4th).

Enjoy the moment Rutgers fans, NFL mini camps begin May 3.
Look for more updates on Rutgers players signing contracts to continue their football careers over the next few days.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Jersey

Florida Gators safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 105 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft during Saturday’s fourth round.

He slid to Day 3 of the draft despite being projected as a possible top-50 selection.

Gardner-Johnson lived up to expectations at Florida after arriving in Gainesville as a highly touted 4-star prospect as part of the 2016 recruiting class.

The 21-year-old Cocoa High School (Florida) product emerged as a starter for the Gators during his freshman campaign and remained a fixture in the team’s defensive backfield for each of the past two seasons, though his role changed at times.

Along with safety, Gardner-Johnson also saw playing time as a slot corner, which helped bolster his draft stock. Tyrann Mathieu, who signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent in March, has illustrated the value of versatility throughout his six-year NFL career.

“I’m the most versatile DB in this draft. That’s how I feel,” Gardner-Johnson told reporters at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in March.

“It’s big because you can put me anywhere. I’m not limited to one position,” he added. “I can be used in base, in nickel. In the nickel, I can cover down in the slot, be in against the post, come off the hash and that half of the field. I can do anything coaches put me at no matter where I go.”

The Saints obviously hope he develops into a perennial Pro Bowl performer, but it’s always important to consider the potential downside. In this case, his versatility limits the bust potential of the pick since he’s likely to carve out a niche for himself, even if he doesn’t become a top-tier safety.

Gardner-Johnson should make his initial impact as the team’s slot corner as a rookie in New Orleans with Marcus Williams and Vonn Bell locked in as the starters at safety.

The last time the Saints dipped a hand into the Swamp in Gainesville to acquire new talent was in 2017 when they took linebacker Alex Anzalone with the 76th selection in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Garner-Johnson could be next in line.

The most recent role played by the junior out of Cocoa, Florida, in 2018, was as nickel back under first-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. And as is sometimes the case with players at this level you’ll see Gardner-Johnson listed in places as either safety, nickelback or cornerback.

Make no mistake about it. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson can play all three. And would perfectly suit what the Saints need in Dennis Allen’s defense in 2019.

As a safety, Gardner-Johnson can play nickel along with strong safety Vonn Bell and free safety Marcus Williams. At an even 6-foot-0 and 207-pounds, Gardner-Johnson is a little slight for any extended time on the field at strong safety, but he can work in where Patrick Robinson and P.J. Williams were working in 2018.

With the Saints having let go of strong safety Kurt Coleman last week, the way has been cleared to use Von Bell exclusively as the Saints starting strong safety.

Gardner-Johnson has the speed and range to go sideline to sideline in coverage having started out his collegiate career at cornerback before being transitioned to safety in his junior campaign.

He took to the change in assignment well, finishing out his junior season with 71 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks and four interceptions.

Whether being groomed to follow up at nickel behind Patrick Robinson or playing alongside Vonn Bell at the line with the safeties, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has the ability to take his game to whatever level at whatever position in the secondary is required of him.

Projected by some to be a first-round talent, the Saint might need to have some luck on their side for him to fall to late in the second. But this is a top heavy draft and safety isn’t that huge a need for many other teams going into the 2019 Season.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is leaving school early and entering the NFL draft.

Gardner-Johnson announced his decision Monday night on Twitter. The junior plans to play in Florida’s bowl game.

Gardner-Johnson says he based his decision on wanting to maximize his value in the NFL draft.

He says “along with this decision, I want Gator Nation to know that I am 100 PERCENT COMMITTED to my team and this program as we look to finish the season strong at our bowl game next month.”

Gardner-Johnson has been one of Florida’s most improved players in 2018, posting 66 tackles, including nine for a loss. He also has three sacks and two interceptions.

The 11th-ranked Gators (9-3) are expected to have several players leave early, including defensive end Jachai Polite, linebacker Vosean Joseph and offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor.

Erik McCoy Jersey

Erik McCoy admits he didn’t get to watch Max Unger much.

But he knows all about the reputation of the former New Orleans Saints center, a three-time Pro Bowler who retired in March.

“I know he’s a heckuva player and he’s definitely a guy I’d like to model my game after,” McCoy said.

Now the Saints will look to McCoy to fill Unger’s giant shoes.

The Saints traded up Friday night and took McCoy, who starred at Texas A&M, with the 48th overall pick of the NFL draft.

“I burst into tears. This is a moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” McCoy said shortly after he was drafted.


Rod Walker
Rod Walker

Erik McCoy admits he didn’t get to watch Max Unger much.

But he knows all about the reputation of the former New Orleans Saints center, a three-time Pro Bowler who retired in March.

“I know he’s a heckuva player and he’s definitely a guy I’d like to model my game after,” McCoy said.

Now the Saints will look to McCoy to fill Unger’s giant shoes.
Erik McCoy allowed just ONE sack at Texas A&M: That and more to know about Saints draft pick
Erik McCoy allowed just ONE sack at Texas A&M: That and more to know about Saints draft pick

The Saints traded up Friday night and took McCoy, who starred at Texas A&M, with the 48th overall pick of the NFL draft.

“I burst into tears. This is a moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” McCoy said shortly after he was drafted.

McCoy watched the draft in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas, with about 50 familiy members.

He started 39 games for the Aggies. He played center in 37 of those games and played guard in the other two.

According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just one sack in more than 1,500 snaps.

“He’s tough; he’s durable,” said coach Sean Payton, who expects McCoy to be a center.
Video Player is loading.

McCoy was the Saints’ first pick in this year’s draft because they didn’t have a first-round selection Thursday, having packaged it last season to move up and take defensive end Marcus Davenport.

Payton said he was hoping to get McCoy when he made his way to the Saints’ practice facility Friday.

“In the process, he stood out,” Payton said. “You see his strength on tape each game you watch. We really had a high grade on him. He played a high level of competition, and you see the consistency. There were just a lot of things to like.”

They traded up from the No. 62 pick to the No. 48 pick and gave up one of their sixth-round picks this year and a second-round pick next year.

“We felt strongly he wouldn’t make it to (No.) 62,” Payton said.

The Saints also gained a fourth-round pick this year.

McCoy is one of two centers the Saints have added in the offseason. They signed center Nick Easton in free agency.

“Both of them are smart guys that we feel like have that flexibility,” Payton said.

The Saints have now drafted 14 offensive linemen since Payton took over in 2006. They struck out on one of their two offensive linemen from last year. Rick Leonard, whom the Saints drafted out of Florida State in the fourth round, never panned out and was cut in October.

He has been on three different rosters since then.

The Saints added to a unit that was one of the team’s greatest strengths last season.

The Saints averaged 126.6 yards rushing per game, ranking sixth in the league. The team gave up just 20 sacks all season. That was the second-fewest total in the NFL, trailing only the Indianapolis Colts, who gave up just 18 sacks.

McCoy, whose family grew up Dallas Cowboys fans, looks forward to joining the Saints.

“Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the NFL,” he saod. “They have a great running back duo. A very good offensive line. Terron Armstead, I look up to him a lot. It’s a winning organization.”

The Saints are hoping McCoy will be as productive as their previous three second-round picks.

They drafted safety Marcus Williams out of Utah in the second round two seasons ago.

The year before that, they landed Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell. Williams and Bell both start as safety, while Thomas, in just three seasons, has already made a strong case as perhaps the best receiver in franchise history.

The Saints have to hope McCoy is a dependable player, in part because they didn’t have any picks in Thursday’s first round.

Payton said Tuesday that he thinks the team can land some solid players in the later rounds as well. The team drafted LSU offensive lineman Will Clapp in the seventh round last year, and Clapp ended up making the roster.

“Fortunately we have been able to find good players, not just in the early rounds, but in the later rounds,” Payton said. “Hopefully we can do the same this year.”

McCoy said he first started bonding with the Saints at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, in January. Then Saints offensive line coach Dan Roushar attended his pro day in College Station.

“I can just tell right now he’s a hell of a coach,” McCoy said. “I can tell he’s going to push me, push me a lot, mentally and physically. That’s something I feel like every rookie needs coming into the NFL. I’m just really excited to get to work with the organization and coach Roushar, in particular.”

Josh LeRibeus Jersey

At a position of undervalued importance, Josh LeRibeus could be one of the more undervalued prospects. A victim of the academic rigors of Southern Methodist University, LeRibeus played the 2010 season on the practice squad as a result of classroom struggles the previous year.

Had the 6’2″ 311-pound guard enjoyed the opportunity to build on his honorable-mention All-Conference sophomore season, he could have entered the draft with a substantially higher ranking.

Still, LeRibeus displayed tremendous heart as he shed weight and returned for a successful senior campaign at guard for the Mustangs. In three years as a starter, LeRibeus consistently earned his position on the field and his newfound dedication earned his teammates’ respect in the 2010-11 offseason.

Shedding 70 pounds before last season demonstrated that LeRibeus not only possesses the internal fortitude to recognize his mistakes (as opposed to blaming teachers, coaches or teammates), but also the intensity and discipline to follow through.

With concerns about his athleticism circling, LeRibeus’ dedication to fitness not only helped him fulfill his personal goal of regaining his position on the Mustang offensive line, it also solidified his position as a quality offensive guard prospect in the 2012 draft class.

Strengths: Physical strength, determination and discipline. LeRibeus could immediately contribute at guard. Additionally, should LeRibeus struggle upon arrival, the SMU Mustang has demonstrated his character in the face of adversity and certainly would go down swinging.

Weaknesses: Scouts still question LeRibeus’ ability to engage in space, and while his comeback displayed incredible commitment and discipline, one must double-check on any student who missed a season for off-field issues—even if they’re as affable as LeRibeus.

That said, LeRibeus has the raw ability to develop into a starter or capable backup at guard, especially if he continues to approach his football career with the same dedication he showed as a senior at SMU. While his weight-room strength is above-average at 29 bench press repetitions, LeRibeus’ on-field strength makes him a potentially very nice “value” pick.

Pick Analysis:

Considering the Redskins gave up the kitchen sink to get RG3 on their roster, it’s only logical they try to add some pieces to protect their investment. Sure, LeRibeus has some work to do and has to prove doubters wrong on his maturity, but his upside was obviously enough to make Washington bite.

The New Orleans Saints offense is facing tough sledding against the Baltimore Ravens, and it got tougher when left guard Josh LeRibeus exited the game with a lower leg injury. LeRibeus was only even playing after the starter, Andrus Peat, was ruled out with a head injury suffered in practice earlier this week.Weirdly, this happened minutes after the Ravens lost their own left guard, who was already filling in for the injured starter. Bradley Bozeman, a rookie out of Alabama, went down after hurting his ankle. Alex Lewis, who hadn’t missed a snap until the end of last week’s game, wasn’t cleared to play with a neck injury.

In LeRibeus’ place came second-year reserve Cameron Tom. Tom started for several years at Southern Mississippi and was well-regarded by his coaches, but mostly played center. He doesn’t have much experience at left guard, so starting him against one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL is a dicey situation.

Offensive lineman Chaz Green had not found a job since the Cowboys cut him coming out of the preseason. But the former third-round pick finally got his second chance as the Saints signed him Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

He will take the place of veteran backup offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus, who the Saints placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. LeRibeus started three games this season in place of injured left guard Andrus Peat, who returned to practice Wednesday after missing last week’s game with a concussion.

Green played in 18 games for the Cowboys after entering the NFL, with injuries and poor play keeping him on the sideline for most of his career in Dallas.

Green started the first three games at left guard last year before Jonathan Cooper replaced him. He then started at left tackle in place of Tyron Smith against the Falcons but got benched after allowing four sacks to Adrian Clayborn.

The Saints also re-signed guard Landon Turner to the practice squad after cutting quarterback J.T. Barrett.

The Saints offense found some life in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers, but the first half of that game and the entire Week 13 loss to the Cowboys were low points for a team that’s scored at least 30 points in nine games this season.

The unit may be getting a couple of players back from injured reserve in the near future. Head coach Sean Payton said on Monday that wide receiver Ted Ginn and offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus could be activated from injured reserve.

“Both [Ginn] and LeRiebeus have progressed, I would say, on schedule,” Payton said, via “So each week we’ll look at that, we’ll talk about it during the beginning of the week, get an update from our medical team. But I’m encouraged with how both of those guys are doing.”

Ginn had knee surgery in October and is eligible to play now. He had 12 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns in four games. LeRibeus started three of the six games he played before hurting his ankle. He’ll become eligible to play again in Week 16.

Taysom Hill Jersey

METARIE, La. — A little more than a year ago, Mike Westhoff came out of retirement to coach special teams for the Saints. He didn’t know any of the players on his new team.

Westhoff walked through the locker room and noticed a player coming out of the shower wearing a towel around his waist.

He thought, “He’s big, put together.”

Later, he was with head coach Sean Payton.

“Who the hell is that guy?” he asked.

“He’s a quarterback,” Payton told him.

“A quarterback?” Westhoff said.

“A quarterback,” Payton replied.

“How big is he?”

“He’s 6’2″, 230.”

“How fast is he?”

“He ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day.”

“Excuse me?” Westhoff said.

Then Payton told Westhoff the story of Taysom Hill.

Playing for Highland High School in 2009, Hill was the All-Idaho Player of the Year. He committed to Stanford, but he then decided to fulfill a two-year Mormon mission to Sydney, Australia. Then he resumed his football life at Brigham Young, where he threw an 18-yard touchdown pass on his first play from scrimmage.

By the time he was a junior, he was a Heisman candidate along with Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. But that season—like all but one of his five college seasons—ended with an injury. There was a knee injury in 2012, a broken fibula in 2014, a fracture of his foot in 2015 and an elbow strain in 2016.

The Packers liked his potential and brought him to camp as an undrafted free agent in 2017, and he was impressive. They waived him on cut-down day, but they planned on signing him to their practice squad.

As Payton studied wide receiver Max McCaffrey, whom the Packers had waived, he kept noticing the player who was throwing him the football. He saw the last name on his jersey and thought it was veteran Shaun Hill. Then he found out the player was a rookie. He asked around the building to find out why the Saints had not been interested in Hill. He kept watching him, and the more he watched, the more he liked.

The Saints put in a claim and got their man. For most of the 2017 season, Hill served as the team’s third-string quarterback behind Drew Brees and Chase Daniel.

Late in the season, the Saints needed a player to cover kickoff returns. Payton asked Westhoff if he thought Hill could play on special teams. Yeah, Westhoff said, he sure could.

That week, Hill practiced on special teams in what has become the first chapter in one of the NFL’s most fascinating stories.

In his NFL debut, Hill splits a two-man wedge and tackles Panthers kick returner Fozzy Whitaker. He brings down Whitaker again on another return. He also comes close to blocking two punts, including one the punter drops. In the locker room after the game, Payton gives Hill a game ball.

As a sophomore in high school, Hill played wide receiver on varsity because the team had a senior quarterback. He became the quarterback the next year, and he also was the team’s punter and kicker. He moonlit as a cornerback, safety and linebacker. He also lettered in basketball and track, competing in the long jump and the 200 meters.

The Saints play a game similar to horseshoes in their weight room with washers, and Hill dominates. He drives a golf ball 100 yards farther than anyone in the foursome, according to his golfing buddies on the team.

His combination of strength and speed would be outstanding for a running back. It’s unheard of for a quarterback. Saints coaches shake their heads and smile recalling him squatting 625 pounds, which would be impressive for an offensive lineman. His 40-yard dash time was faster than Marcus Mariota’s (4.52), Russell Wilson’s (4.55), Cam Newton’s (4.59), and Tim Tebow’s (4.71). It also was faster than the 40 times of teammates Alvin Kamara (4.56) and Michael Thomas (4.57).

P.J. Williams Jersey

The New Orleans Saints are aiming to make one more run at a Super Bowl. But as an already supremely talented roster has learned over the past two years, depth often determines who plays in February. And luck of course.

In a move that screams to the “you can never have too many cornerbacks” mantra, the Saints added to their secondary with a very familiar face agreeing to terms with P.J. Willams on a one-year deal Tuesday worth $5 million.

Contrary to FS1’s Colin Cowherd’s belief, the New Orleans Saints do not have “really weak corners”. While their defensive backs weren’t perfect last season and had various cringe worthy lapses, the group improved immensely throughout the season.

And with talented slot cornerback Patrick Robinson returning after a season ending injury in 2018, it should only be better. Robinson’s replacement last season was the now five m-year pro in Williams. While he had been plagued by injury and inconsistency throughout his time in New Orleans, his struggles weren’t a secret.

But there were several games when the potential that made Williams a third-round pick in 2015 flashed. And sometimes the light shined extremely bright.

2018 however, gave him another chance to put it all on display. With another struggling defensive beginning to the season, Robinson on IR, and the Saints eventually welcoming Eli Apple aboard after a rough campaign from Ken Crawley —the pressure remained thick on Williams.

And he responded in a manner in which a former Florida State cornerback should. With swagger and success.

And he responded in a manner in which a former Florida State cornerback should. With swagger and success.

Now with a healthy returning Robinson, Williams will join an even more crowded secondary in 2019. With Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple expected to hold down the number one and two positions on the depth chart, Williams will be more than likely fighting it out for nickel and dime package snaps.

But nothing is ever guaranteed in a New Orleans Saints secondary, so his opportunity to contribute could easily arrive in another manner unexpected. If history is to repeat itself however, he’d have it no other way.

The New Orleans Saints announced today that they have agreed to terms with CB P.J. WIlliams on a one-year contract. The announcement was made by Saints’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.

Williams, 6-0 196, was originally selected by New Orleans in the third round (78th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Florida State. He has appeared in 33 career games with 14 starts, posting career totals of 106 tackles (83 solo), one sack, three interceptions, one returned 45 yards for a touchdown, 20 passes defensed and two forced fumbles. In four postseason contests with two starts, he has added 16 tackles (13 solo) and four passes defensed.

In 2019, Williams played in 15 regular season games with six starts and posted a career-high 53 tackles (44 solo), one sack, a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown, nine passes defensed and one forced fumble. With his 45-yard pick brough back for a score in the club’s 30-20 win over Minnesota on October 28, Williams was selected as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week Eight. He opened both postseason contests and posted 11 tackles (nine solo) and two passes defensed.

charges early Wednesday morning, New Orleans Police confirmed to

According to a report from the NOPD, Williams was “arrested and booked into the Orleans Parish Justice Center for driving while intoxicated, speeding (80 mph in a 50 mph), improper lane usage and failure to use a turn signal.”

Williams was released on bond later Wednesday morning.

This is not Williams’ first arrest for driving under the influence. Per the Tallahassee Democrat, he was arrested and charged with DUI in 2015 before that year’s draft, though the charge was later dropped.

The Saints selected Williams in the third round of the 2015 draft. This past season he appeared in 15 games with seven starts and logged an interception, which he returned for a touchdown, in addition to 53 tackles.

Williams is set to be a free agent in March when the new league year begins.

P.J. Williams is treating it just like any other game.

Never mind that he’ll be in Tampa, just 90 miles from his hometown of Ocala, Florida.

Never mind that he’ll be going up against his college teammate and friend, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

Never mind that he grew up a huge fan of the Bucs, rooting for guys like Warren Sapp, Mike Alstott and Ronde Barber and others as 9-year old kid when they won Super Bowl XXXVII.

“It doesn’t mean much now, because I’m far from a fan now,” Williams said. “I don’t think about playing the team that I liked growing up. I just want to win.”

For the fourth-year cornerback used primarily in nickel packages, it’s a chance to continue building on what has been his best season yet.

His 40 tackles this season leaves him just seven shy of tying his career-high 47 from a season ago.

“I feel like I’m getting comfortable every week, playing with a lot more confidence and being able to play fast,” Williams said. “Just knowing the game plan and executing the game time. Just overall, I’m taking my game up.”

It helps that Williams is finally healthy after an injury-plagued start to his career. A hamstring injury ended his entire rookie season in 2015. He played in just two games the following year but suffered what at the time looked like it could be major injury in Week 2 against the New York Giants. Williams lay on the turf at Met Life Stadium after taking a knee to the side of the helmet and another knee to the back of the helmet on the same play. Williams was immobilized and carted off the field.

His recollection of the play?

“I remember being in the ambulance,” Williams recalled. “But I never think about it. It doesn’t affect me at all.”

Williams was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of that season after what was determined to be a concussion, but he never doubted he’d return.

Neither did his teammates.

“It was a scary moment for all of us, but God kept him close and he bounced back, and it’s like he never left,” safety Vonn Bell said. “He isn’t afraid to make the big hit, and he’s still sticking his nose in there when it gets cloudy and muddy. He lays his body on the line for us, just playing fast and making plays.”

Williams said he is as healthy as he’s ever been after playing the end of last season while battling tendonitis.

His performance in the seventh game against the Minnesota Vikings — when he returned an interception for a touchdown and also helped force a momentum-swinging fumble — earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Williams also recorded his first career sack on Thanksgiving night against the Falcons.

“P.J.’s really intelligent, he’s really smart and understands how to operate inside in that nickel position,” said Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. “He understands leverage and when we ask him to play receivers, he knows where his help is. He knows zone coverage and how teams are tyring to attack him. You can win a lot of games and do a lot of good things with highly intelligent players. I think P.J.’s had some success. That builds your confidence and allows you to come out and play more freely and aggressive.”

There was a time this season when it didn’t seem like Williams would get those snaps, particularly after a Week 3 when he struggled against the Falcons. His woeful day included giving up a 75-yard touchdown to Calvin Ridley.

“I feel like I didn’t play well at all that Atlanta game,” Williams said. “After that, I just wanted to make sure I played a whole lot better to help the team.”

Cornerback Marshon Lattimore noticed the difference.

“After the Atlanta game, he really locked in after that,” Lattimore said. “From that point on, he was great. Playing corner in the NFL, you’re going to have those rough games and you have to know how to bounce back, and that’s what he did. We knew how P.J. could play, and he’s showing that more this year.”

Now Williams returns to his home state of Florida, where his football journey began.

He stays in touch with Winston, with whom he played for three seasons at Florida State. The two were on the Seminoles team that beat Auburn in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game. Winston and Williams were named the game’s most valuable players.

They stay in touch, with Williams giving Winston a bit of ribbing leading up to Sunday’s game. Williams’ last interception against Winston came in practice at Florida State. He has yet to intercept Winston as a pro.

“Hopefully this week,” Williams said. “I talk junk a little bit to him, told him not to come at me. Don’t look for him to complete any passes on me.”

But Williams is more focused on the Saints getting a win, avenging their season-opening loss.

“They are a lot better, but I feel we are a lot better too,” Williams said. “I feel like we are the better team. We just have to play like it. We are trying to win the NFC South championship. Losing last week (against Dallas) makes me want to win this week. That’s the main thing for me.”

Andrus Peat Jersey

College football linemen tend to have thighs the size of tree trunks. Not too many have calves that wide.

Meet Andrus Peat, and if you’re a defensive end or an outside linebacker in the Pac-12, you’re probably going to get your chance – and it’s probably going to make an impact on you.

He’s listed as 6-foot-7, 312 pounds, but the sophomore is still growing. He can also run, and that means trouble for would-be tacklers.

He’s undoubtedly going to be Stanford’s next great blind-side offensive tackle, a probable first-round draft pick following the likes of Gordon King, Brian Holloway, Bob Whitfield and, yes, Kwame Harris – who might not have been a great pro with the 49ers and Raiders but was a force on the Farm.

Peat is part of the latest incarnation of the Tunnel Workers, the hard-hatted creation of former Stanford tackle Chris Marinelli. For the past several years, the offensive line has banded together under that blue-collar sobriquet and given out a distinctive “Woo-woo” group cheer after every practice.

The line is back intact this week. Guard David Yankey, who missed the Washington State game because he was needed in Georgia to attend to a family matter, is back for Saturday night’s game against No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0). That’s a big lift for the line, especially for Peat, who plays next to Yankey.

“Dave is a great leader,” he said. “It’s always great to have an All-American back in the lineup, a guy who’s got experience like him playing next to me.”

Yankey played mainly at left tackle last season. With Peat now a fixture, Yankey is back at his natural guard position. Khalil Wilkes, who played left guard in 2012, is at center. Guard Kevin Danser and tackle Cameron Fleming are experienced hands on the right side.

Stanford still loves that bone-rattling ground game, but this year it has given its offensive linemen more pass-blocking responsibilities as Kevin Hogan is looking to throw deep far more than he did last year.

That’s fine with Peat, who wants to be known for his versatility as well as for the forearm punch he likes to deliver to the chests of his adversaries. “There are a lot of left tackles who are known for their pass blocking,” he said. “I try to do both.”

The punch was something his father taught him. When your dad is Todd Peat, who played six years in the NFL with the Cardinals and Raiders, you tend to listen when it comes to the fine points of offensive line play.

When Andrus started playing for Corona del Sol High in Tempe, Ariz., his father “started emphasizing that,” he said. “Especially with a speed rusher coming off the edge, he always said, ‘Punch him, try to redirect him, stop his first move.’ That’s what I really try to do.”

Father and son went over some of Todd’s old NFL films this summer so Andrus could pick up a few more pointers.

“Having a dad who played in the NFL, you get to know the little parts of the game,” he said.

The Cardinal have 10 players with that paternal advantage, including Barry Sanders, whose father is a Hall of Famer.

They might have inherited their size, speed or talent from their fathers. Peat might have gotten all three from his.

“People ask me, ‘Why are your legs so big?’ ” he said. “I guess it’s just genetics.”

Andrus Peat, Stanford’s All-America offensive lineman, said Tuesday he’ll forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-7, 312-pound left tackle called it “a long and hard decision,’’ but he’ll follow his father, Todd, a former Cardinals and Raiders offensive lineman, into the NFL.

Peat is expected to be drafted in the first round. Most mock drafts have him going in the middle of the round or higher.

“I would like to thank all of my Stanford teammates, coaches and the faculty for helping me grow and enjoy an amazing experience at Stanford University,’’ he said in a statement released by the school. “I’m excited and ready to take the next big step of my life.”

Peat anchored the Cardinal’s offensive line in 2014 as the only returning starter from the 2013 Rose Bowl team. He teamed with four classmates from Stanford’s heralded 2012 recruiting class. The Chandler, Ariz., native was one of the most highly rated recruits in program history. He was listed as the nation’s top recruit by the Sporting News as a senior at Corona del Sol High School.

This season, the offensive line struggled at times but helped the Cardinal average 158.8 yards per game on the ground and allowed only 23 sacks. Peat was an Outland Trophy quarterfinalist and member of the All-Pac-12 first team.

He became the starting left tackle at the beginning of the 2013 season and started the next 27 games.

Todd Peat played played six seasons with the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals (1987-89) and the Los Angeles Raiders (1990, 1992-93).

Another Stanford junior, cornerback Alex Carter, announced moments after the Foster Farms Bowl victory over Maryland that he would enter the draft. His father, too, played in the NFL. Wide receiver Devon Cajuste said he would return for his senior year. Still mulling a possible pro move are quarterback Kevin Hogan and cornerback Wayne Lyons.

Next season, Stanford right tackle Kyle Murphy might switch to the left side to replace Peat, although freshman Casey Tucker is also a candidate for the key position on the offensive line.

Vonn Bell Jersey

Marshon Lattimore has spent a lot of time watching Vonn Bell play football.

The two played together in college before being reunited in New Orleans last year. Lattimore knew all the safety needed was a chance. Even though the Saints often used three-safety sets, Bell was playing behind Marcus Williams and Kenny Vaccaro.

“He was boxed in like a caged animal,” Lattimore said. “I know what he’s capable of, and I know that he’s a great player. Even in college, you’d look at him like, ‘Vonn’s the truth.’ When I got here, he was kind of in and out, but if you just let Vonn get into his game, you’re going to see a different player.”

Bell is now uncaged. He’s sharing the strong safety position with newcomer Kurt Coleman, but Bell has claimed the nickel snaps, which has kept him on the field for 70 percent of the defensive snaps versus Coleman’s 42 percent. Bell might not be the starter on paper, but he is in practice.

The Saints didn’t intend for the situation to play out this way. They didn’t sign Coleman to a three-year, $16.35 million contract to have him play base downs. Bell forced that situation by stepping up, improving and claiming the role. He received the message and was motivated to do it.

While he’s enjoyed having Coleman around and said the two have meshed well both on and off the field, Bell knew he had something to prove when New Orleans signed someone else instead of giving him the job once it moved on from Vaccaro.

“Being around, we lost KV, ‘OK, I’m next up, I’m going to be the guy,’ ” Bell said. “They brought another guy, we like veteran guys, but I stepped up to the plate. Iron sharpens iron. You never shy away from that.”

For his part, Coleman, in his ninth season, has embraced his role on the field and as the veteran member of the secondary.

“I’m excited for what Vonn’s been able to do,” Coleman said. “I told him from the moment I got here that I want to see him succeed. That’s part of my role here, to see the guys around me continue to grow and get better as a group and individually.”

There’s a reason Bell doesn’t shy away when asked if this is the best he’s played. “I think so; I’m growing into myself,” he says.

Everything has become easier for this season, and that is probably why everyone has a different answer when asked where Bell has shown the most growth. Some say coverage, others cite his angles on tackles. There are even a few submissions for explosiveness.

But the common thread behind all of those things is Bell’s improved awareness and understanding of what he’s supposed to be doing and why he’s doing it. In his third season, Bell is grasping all of it on a deeper level and has been able to make more plays.

“The first couple of years, you can see when the play is going on there’s a thought process that’s going on through his mind,” defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said. “And I think now he’s able to just rely on his instincts and see the play happening and be able to make a fast decision.”

In Week 5 against Washington, Bell got off a block, worked his way through the wash and stopped Adrian Peterson for a gain of 2 yards. Later in the same game, he blitzed and broke up an Alex Smith pass. Later, he dropped running back Chris Thompson in the backfield for a loss of a yard.

These highlights keep coming. In a game against the Giants, working as a deep safety, Bell read a pass to tight end Rhett Ellison up the seam and broke it up. Against the Ravens, he dropped into a shallower zone, read a pass to Alex Collins and crashed down to make an open-field tackle. Against the Vikings, he quickly realized tight end Kyle Rudolph was open on a delayed route and crashed over to stop him for a gain of a yard.

So, yes, Bell is winning in a variety of ways, and it’s clear that most of them are the result of him seeing the field and making quick decisions.

“The game slowed down,” Bell said. “Just knowing the situation of the game, because I’ve grown through situational football, which has helped me the most though every phase, the red zone, third down, two minute, and that’s what wins games. I think I’ve elevated my game with that, just being knowledgeable.”

So now that he’s getting out of that box, is Bell living up the standard Lattimore has for his teammate?

“You’re going to see,” Lattimore said, “once he goes out and unleashes it.”

He’s out and unleashed, and by all accounts it has been the best stretch of Bell’s career.

Sheldon Rankins Jersey

INDIANAPOLIS — Defensive tackle could quickly become a top need for the Saints.

While Sheldon Rankins is recovering well from a torn Achilles tendon that ended his season prematurely, he is not expected to return as quickly as Alex Okafor did from a similar injury last season, according to a source.

Rankins’ injury is lower in his leg, which means it will take him longer to recover than someone who suffers a higher tear, such as Okafor. The defensive tackle suffered his injury during the playoffs, and it could take him as long as 10 months to recover. It is possible, and possibly likely, that Rankins will start the season on the physically unable to perform list.

Sean Payton mentioned that with Rankins’ injury, the team might look to address that spot this offseason. He also said interior offensive line and tight end are areas the team will keep an eye on.

The defensive tackle finished last season with eight sacks, the best season of his career. New Orleans is expected to pick up his option for the 2020 season before the May deadline.

With Rankins expected to miss some time to start the year, New Orleans might look to add another defensive tackle to help with depth to start the season. David Onyemata could face disciplinary action from the league after being charged with possession of marijuana, which could further thin the depth.

Defensive tackle Tyeler Davison is also a free agent. The Saints have expressed interest in bringing him back, but he could find a healthy market if he’s allowed to reach free agency.

Now with a new agent, what’s next for Saints standout Michael Thomas? Contract discussions

What’s next for Mark Ingram? Gauging market as longtime Saints RB hits free agency

Sheldon Rankins was one of the best players on the field for the New Orleans Saints this past season, but now there is a very real concern he won’t be there when 2019 begins.

The defensive tackle is likely to start next season on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from his Achilles injury, according to a report from The Advocate.

Physically unable to perform, or PUP, is a designation used by the NFL for players who have suffered football related injuries sometime before the start of a season. Players on the list may participate in team meetings and use training and medical facilities, but are not allowed to practice with the team.

The PUP list is divided between a preseason list and a regular season list.

Players assigned to the preseason PUP list are those who cannot take part in training camp. They can be moved off the PUP list to the active roster at any time.

A player who finishes the exhibition season still on the PUP list can be placed on the regular season PUP, but must then miss the first six weeks of the regular season. From there, teams have a five week time frame in which to let the player start practicing again.

From the day they begin practicing, teams have another 21 day window to decide whether or not to activate the player to their 53 man roster. If either of those deadlines should pass, then the player has to stay on the PUP list for the entire season.

Despite the concern that Rankins may not be on the field when the season begins, the report notes that Rankins is “recovering well” from the injury he sustained during the playoffs.

Early in the Saints’ NFC Divisional Round victory over Philadelphia, Rankins tore his Achilles tendon and required a cart to get off the field and back to the locker room.

He was eventually placed on the team’s injured reserve list with the ailment.

Medical experts contend that an injury of this kind requires 10 months recovery time.

Two seasons ago, defensive end Alex Okafor suffered an Achilles injury similar to the one Rankins is dealing with, but was able to recover faster because the damage to Okafor was higher up on the leg than the issue Rankins is dealing with.

Rankins’ potential absence from the defensive line to begin the 2019 coincides with a probable NFL mandated suspension to defensive tackle David Onyemata after he was arrested for marijuana possession early in the offseason, further compromising the team’s depth at this position.

These developments inspired head coach Sean Payton to admit that the Saints will be looking into the defensive tackle position during the free agency period and in the NFL Draft.

In his third season from Louisville after being a first round draft pick by the Saints, Rankins has developed into one of their best defensive players, ranking second with eight sacks.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan, who ranked ahead of Rankins with 12 sacks this season, said his teammate has a history of coming back from injury, notably a broken fibula in 2016.

“He’s nothing but a warrior anyways,” Jordan said. “I expect nothing but the best for his comeback.”

Trey Hendrickson Jersey

Defensive end has become a headline position for the New Orleans Saints.

Cameron Jordan might be better than ever. Alex Okafor’s potential is a vaulted ceiling as long as the foundation remains intact. First-round pick Marcus Davenport commands a spotlight whether he’s on the field or off.

Better not forget about Trey.

A third-round pick out of Florida Atlantic in the historic draft class the Saints put together last season, Hendrickson is coming off of a rookie season that looked a little more typical than his classmates’ debut performances.

Hendrickson recorded 13 tackles, two sacks, five quarterback hits, two tackles-for-loss and a pair of batted passes in 282 snaps, even though there were four games in which he didn’t play a defensive snap due to injury.

What he did show was enough to catch the attention of the All-Pro he plays behind.

“He is probably the most exciting in my mind, in terms of how he is going to progress this year,” Jordan said.

Hendrickson, offered a chance to play extra snaps during this training camp as Jordan eases his way back from offseason surgery to remove bone spurs in his foot, has been a force on the practice field.

Always a high-effort player, Hendrickson appears poised to make the second-year jump a lot of players make after their rookie season.

“You feel him,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “There is a physical presence to him. It is not necessarily the feistiness, it is how a player plays between the whistles.”

By virtue of his motor, Hendrickson always had a presence to him on the practice field.

A season of NFL football has given him a body better capable of taking advantage of all that effort.

“He is stronger,” Payton said. “Fortunately, right now he is healthy.”

Health was Hendrickson’s biggest issue as a rookie.

A training-camp injury slowed his growth before the season opener, and a knee injury suffered against Atlanta cost Hendrickson the final three games of the year. In between those two injuries, Hendrickson dealt with a bunch of nagging injuries.

Being fully healthy throughout this camp has allowed Hendrickson to stack lessons on top of each other, and on top of all of the lessons he learned as a rookie.

“I’m just trying to absorb as much information as possible,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson’s work ethic fits well with defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen, a stickler for the details who has helped the rookie refine all aspects of his technique.

Hendrickson believes that attention to detail can help him take the next step.

“A heightened focus on the little things,” Hendrickson said. “The details are what separates people in this league.”

The results have been obvious.

Hendrickson has two tackles and two quarterback hits in the preseason, but he’s been a daily force in practice. Playing mostly on the left side — Jordan’s natural spot — Hendrickson has caught the eye of the Defensive Player of the Year candidate in front of him.

“He doesn’t have that skewed perception of just seeing a man in front of him now,” Jordan said. “Now he is broadening that vision, he is able to take in what motion is (happening) and what the backfield looks like. He is growing nicely.”

With Jordan, Okafor and Davenport all competing for snaps and a long list of other edge rushers trying to make the roster, Hendrickson’s role in the rotation remains to be seen.

But that might not matter.

Hendrickson, Okafor and Jordan can all rush from the inside, and the NFL’s best defensive lines can send wave after wave of pass rushers at a quarterback without missing a beat.

The way Hendrickson’s been playing in camp, the Saints might have another on their hands.

Hendrickson twice denied Arizona Cardinals star running back David Johnson in short-yardage situations last night, showing the combination of snap anticipation, dynamic first step, and good technique to shed a block and meet Johnson behind the line of scrimmage.

And while the sacks haven’t come yet, they will. Hendrickson has just outplayed most tackles set up against him through that combination of athleticism and practiced technique. We saw some hints of this last year when he was a rookie:

It’s great to see Hendrickson hasn’t just entered 2018 how he left it, he’s grown and developed. Check out how he beats the right tackle in this clip with a similar move, but manages to run a tighter arc to the QB. If Bortles were throwing to his right instead of his left, this is very likely a sack.

So yeah, get excited for the Trey Hendrickson experience. With Davenport and Okafor returning to action on different time-tables, Hendrickson looks up to the task of holding things down until the Saints are ready to field a full stable of pass rushers.