First-rounder Ryan Ramczyk's hip 'further along' than Saints anticipated  

Ryan Ramczyk's early rookie camp performance has the Saints feeling pretty good about his training camp availability. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints already expected first-round draft pick Ryan Ramczyk to be healthy in time for training camp, but they're even more optimistic after getting a look at the offensive tackle during this weekend's rookie minicamp.

"He's in good shape and much further along than really we anticipated, even with his surgery," Saints coach Sean Payton said of Ramczyk, who had hip labrum surgery in January. "He's getting a lot of work, but he's not getting the [full] team work. He probably is three to four weeks out with his labrum, but he's picking things up very quickly.

"So it's been good, it's been a good exposure."

Ramczyk also said he has been progressing ahead of his own projected timetable so far.

"I think they were impressed with where I'm at right now. The rehab's been really good, and I plan to keep it that way and keep looking ahead," said Ramczyk, the 32nd overall pick, who played left tackle at Wisconsin but will begin his NFL career at right tackle competing with veteran Zach Strief.

"It's tough not being able to go out there and compete with the guys and do all that," Ramczyk said. "But for me, I know what I have to do. I know I gotta get in the playbook and understand all the concepts and everything. So I'm just really focusing on that right now."

It's far too early to evaluate how the rookies look on the practice field just two days into New Orleans' rookie camp, since they are still working at "teach tempo" -- as fellow first-round pick Marshon Lattimore described it.

But both Lattimore (the cornerback chosen with the No. 11 pick out of Ohio State) and Ramczyk have made favorable impressions so far, according to coaches such as Payton and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.

"Look, it's early to make any decisions. But certainly he's the type of athlete that we thought we were getting," Allen said of Lattimore. "We were excited to get him. He's really a talented player. He's a rookie, so he's got a long way to go still. But we're excited about working with the talent."

"[Lattimore] is doing well like the rest of these guys," Payton added. "He's going out there and getting the calls. They're getting a lot installed right now, but he's a quick study, he's picked it up."

Lattimore said there has been a little adjustment since this is the first time he has been back on the field since December.

But that doesn't mean he has been taking it easy.

"Everybody is competitive, everybody wants a job. So you just gotta go out there and be the best competitor you can be. You gotta step it up to a different level," Lattimore said. "Right now it's just 'teach tempo.' But you still have to be competitive too at the same time."