Former Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara is off to a great start at New Orleans Saints training camp according to his new head coach.
Saints head coach Sean Payton was impressed with Kamra’s intelligence on Sunday. So much so, in fact, that Payton said Kamara reminds him of Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk.
“There’s some traits that Kamara has that remind me (of Faulk) in regards to his intelligence, his ability to run routes,” Payton said on Sunday. “He was one of the smarter players I ever coached.”
Faulk ran for over 12,000 yards in his 12 seasons in the NFL. He also averaged 39.1 receiving yards per game, which is the most all-time in the NFL for a running back.
Kamara will have plenty of opportunities to catch passes from Drew Brees in Payton’s offense this season. It’s the same scheme that once featured Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush, two running backs who each had multiple seasons of 70 or more receptions with the Saints. When Jalen Hurd was still a Vol, Kamara fit that role as a pass catching threat out of the backfield perfectly in Knoxville.
Now he’ll be playing behind a future Hall of Famer — Adrian Peterson — who also had good things to say about the former Tennessee standout.
“He has a lot of talent,” Peterson said on Sunday. “So much talent. Really quick feet, great vision, great patience. His route running ability is crisp. He looks like he’s seasoned and he’s picking up things quickly. He’s going to be a heck of a ball player, I can tell you that.”
Comparing Kamara to Faulk wasn’t the only praise Payton had for his rookie running back, however.
“It was real evident in the first half hour of how smart he was,” Payton added. “He was in with the quarterbacks, he understood schemes, he understood route reads, concepts. And even on the field, it was impressive. It would be something that would be difficult to know if you were just looking at a test.”
It’s early, but so far the returns couldn’t be better for the Tennessee speedster. As a change of pace back in the NFL, you can’t do any better than a Faulk comparison in your first week of practice.