The New Orleans Saints are locked and loaded when it comes to safeties. However, the addition of Ty Zimmerman via the NFL undrafted free agent market will bring a little extra competition to the position.
Kansas State pedigree, the former Wildcat had a superb collegiate career in the Big 12 conference. In 2010, he was a freshman All-American and named Second Team All-Big 12 honors after totaling 74 tackles (four for loss), three interceptions, three passes defended and two fumble recoveries in 12 games. As a sophomore, he started in all 13 games and racked up 58 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups.
He continued his strong play in 2012 and was named a Second Team All-American and First Team All-Big 12 honors after an incredible season. He tied for third in the conference and 10th nationally with five interceptions. During his senior year in 2013, the defensive back picked up another First Team All-Big 12 honors and became the first four-time all conference honoree in K-State history.
He certainly has the potential to find success at the next level, but it will be tough to do so in New Orleans. Jarius Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro are locked in as the future of the organization. Rafael Bush being locked in behind Byrd is almost an absolute certainty. Zimmerman’s main competition at free safety will be Pierre Warren, but he has also been taking reps at strong safety. We could see him give Marcus Ball and Saints’ fifth-round pick Vinnie Sunseri a run for their money as well.
With the amount of depth already at safety, it’s going to be difficult for the Black and Gold to make room for the young talent, but the fact that Rob Ryan plans on running more three-safety sets in 2014 may increase Zimmerman’s chances. In my opinion, he’s a college stud with NFL upside, but will need time to develop in the pros.
He could definitely mold into a solid special teams player, but landing on the practice squad is a more likely scenario, for now. Just getting the opportunity to practice with a championship contender should be something for Zimmerman to look forward to at training camp.