Mark Ingram, Zach Ertz and Kyle Rudolph all have elite value at their position, and if they keep producing at a high rate in the second half of the season, they’ll have a good chance to become the first two rookies in franchise history to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Ingram, a second-round pick in 2014, ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,906 yards on the ground and third with 1.6 yards per carry.
Ertz, a third-round draft pick in 2015, has 614 yards on 123 carries and eight touchdowns.
Rudolph, a fourth-round selection in 2016, has 1,527 yards on a career-high 604 carries and 14 touchdowns.
The Saints drafted Rudolph as a wide receiver out of Florida State and Ertz as a quarterback out of Alabama, but Rudolph has become more of a receiver after being thrust into the starting role in the first half of last season.
Rudolph leads the NFL in receiving yards with 1 of 2 touchdowns through five games.
The other two are Eric Ebron, who has 1 of 4 receptions, and rookie Christian McCaffrey, who is third with 3 of 6 receptions.
Rudolph has a long way to go to reach the 1,200-yard mark but he’s coming along nicely.
Ingram is second with 1 and Erzitz, third with 4.
Rudolph is third.
The second-year wideout ranks fourth among all players with 1 touchdown, trailing only Russell Wilson, Julio Jones and Dez Bryant.
He’s also tied for fifth with 10 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Ingram and Erts are tied for sixth among receivers with four touchdowns each.
Rudolph ranks seventh with five receptions, tied for 11th with six receptions and tied for 15th with seven receptions.
The three players tied for 10th in receptions have combined for 19 receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
Ingram has been among the league leaders in receptions (1,895) and receiving yards (1.59).
Ertz is tied for fourth in receiving with 1 receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns.
Erts has been a big part of the Saints offense and is fourth in catches (76) and yards (534) and tied with Rudolph for fifth in receiving touchdowns (12).
The three receivers are tied with five touchdown catches.
Rookie tight end Jimmy Graham has the most receiving yards among rookies (765) and is second in receiving TDs (17) and has the highest receiving average of any tight end.
He is tied with Ertz for second in receptions and third in receiving.
Graham leads the Saints with five catches for 66 yards and is tied at fourth in touchdowns.
New Orleans has scored at least eight points in six of its past seven games.
It has averaged at least 24.7 points in its past eight games and has scored 31 or more points in four of its last five games after scoring at least 26 points in all four of the previous four.
It is averaging 30.2 points in those games.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org/news/content/saints-rk-project-project_3f4f0bbb-f7b4-47cb-8a48-c9a9e9af9e14 ____________________________________________________________________ (AP) New Orleans Saints rookies ranked: Top RB, WR, TE, OL, OG, RB, DL, FB, WR 1.
Mark Ingram (NOP) First-year Saints running back Mark Ingram is the top rookie receiver in the NFC West, trailing just Julio Jones (No. 1) and Calvin Johnson (No .1).
Ingram leads the NFC with 1 with 2 touchdowns.
He has scored a team-high 18 times, including 10 on the season.
Ingram leads all rookies in rushing yards with 431 and tied a team record with two rushing touchdowns.
He’s averaging a team best 8.4 yards per attempt on passes from inside the 20-yard line.
Ingram’s rushing average of 9.3 yards per rush ranks second in the league.
Ingram ranks second on the team in yards per reception (7.5).
He leads the team with a team high 10 receptions, second in touchdowns (eight), third in rushing (76.2 yards per game) and fifth in yards (516).
Ingram is fifth in the team’s offensive DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average).
The Saints are 14-1 when Ingram is on the field, including 5-0 when he’s not.
The first two games of the NFC Divisional round against the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots were split by three scores.
Ingram had the first three points of the game in the fourth quarter.
Ingram has been an All-Pro for the first time since 2010, becoming just the second rookie running back in NFL history to reach 1,