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NFL New Orleans Saints

5 New Orleans Saints Players With Most to Prove in 2014

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5 New Orleans Saints Players With Most to Prove in 2014

new orleans saints minicamp
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

The new season is just around the corner and the New Orleans Saints are looking to go big this year. While some players have already proven that they are the real deal, others still have some work to do. With Week 1 of the new NFL season only two months away, let's look at five guys who need to validate themselves for the Black and Gold in 2014.

5. OLB Victor Butler

victor butler new orleans saints
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

5. OLB Victor Butler

victor butler new orleans saints
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

After missing all of 2013 with a torn ACL, Victor Butler is looking to bounce back for his final contract year with New Orleans. Rob Ryan brought the linebacker in from Dallas last season in hopes of distributing some extra pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Butler will be fighting his way into the starting lineup during training camp and will need to have a solid year if he wants to land a long-term deal with the Saints. The talent is there.

4. LT Terron Armstead

terron armstead new orleans saints
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

4. LT Terron Armstead

terron armstead new orleans saints
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

Second-year tackle Terron Armstead is set to start in 2014. He came into the mix at the end of 2013 against the St. Louis Rams when Sean Payton finally had enough of Charles Brown. It seemed like Armstead improved each game and had an especially solid outing against the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs. Can the strong play continue for him to prove that he is capable of being the Saints’ long-term option at left tackle?

3. C Tim Lelito

tim lelito new orleans saints
Kim Klement- USA Today Sports

3. C Tim Lelito

tim lelito new orleans saints
Kim Klement- USA Today Sports

Tim Lelito should be starting at center when the season kicks off. He only has two games of experience, which came at left guard last year. He is the go-to guy at the moment and will be looking to prove that he is the man that should be snapping the ball to Drew Brees for the long run. Sean Payton and company seem happy with his performance so far.

2. DT Brodrick Bunkley

brodrick bunkley new orleans saints
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

2. DT Brodrick Bunkley

brodrick bunkley new orleans saints
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

Brodrick Bunkley has been a bit of a disappointment so far for New Orleans. It’s time for him to step up and prove that he’s worth the fat contract. His big body adds a nice plug up the middle, but he needs to start using it more. I know John Jenkins would love to steal that starting role from him. While the Saints ranked fourth in overall defense, they still allowed 111.6 yards per game on the ground, which ranked at 19th in the NFL in 2013.

1. RB Mark Ingram

mark ingram new orleans saints
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

1. RB Mark Ingram

mark ingram new orleans saints
Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

It’s tough to be a 1,000-yard back in the Saints system and it will probably be a while till New Orleans runs that style of offense again. However, Mark Ingram has faced all sorts of criticism since landing in the Big Easy. For those who want to criticize, he averaged almost five yards per carry last season. With Darren Sproles out of the picture, Ingram’s snaps will see a hefty increase in 2014. Time to prove his haters wrong.