Former UK lineman finding his way with New Orleans Saints
Published 10:46 am Thursday, April 27, 2023
After being a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft, former Kentucky offensive lineman Landon Young has played in 26 games with three starts for the New Orleans Saints the last two seasons.
He made a start at both left and right tackle last season when he played in 16 games.
“I feel pretty good about what I’ve done,” said Young. “I am excited to see how it goes. We have a lot of new, moving pieces from coaches to the quarterback to some free agents. Our whole DL (defensive line) went to different teams. It’s going to be a very interesting season.”
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The former Lexington Lafayette standout says a professional career involves a lot of time and there is little time to sit and relax.
“The only relaxation is right after the season ends when you can take a little time to relax. But you also have to work out a lot on your own,” he said. “I am very excited with how things have gone. I am not in a starting role, but that’s because I have not been good enough for two years to do that.
“I am getting closer to that point the more I keep learning. It’s just a whole different level of learning techniques in the NFL going against the best of the best. I want to see what the next step up for me can be. I want to earn more playing time, get more reps, feel more comfortable and get the game to slow down.”
Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk is a six-year veteran with 89 starts for the Saints, while left tackle James Hurst has 80 career starts, including 36 in the last three seasons after joining the Saints following six years with the Ravens.
“Ramczyk is a very high-paid guy and very experienced,” Young said. “I have been able to learn from him and have become good friends with him. He was a first-round pick and is on his second contract. You could not ask for anyone better to learn from.
“Hurst has even more experience in the league, and I can see and learn a lot just watching him. It’s awesome to pick those guys’ minds during the season and hear about their experiences.
“In this league, if you are not starting, you’ve got to be able to play guard and tackle or both guards or both tackles.”
Young says there is a “huge difference” in his play now compared to when he first got to the Saints.
“I go back and watch films and see the changes. I watched our game against Florida and was like, ‘I really was not that good,’” Young said. “I got some all-SEC honors, but it is all relevant. I am just glad I got better here because if I had not, there’s no way I would still be in the league.”
Young and his wife, Haleigh, have an 11-month-old son that can make things “tricky” for him during the season about spending time with his child.
“I owe it to my kid to devote as much time as I can to him and help him,” Young said. “During the season, you are at the facility from 7 (a.m.) to 4 or 5 (p.m.), and most nights he’s in bed by 7:30, so that’s not a lot of time with him.
“You have to not only practice but study film, study the playbook. You learn to prioritize your time. As he gets older, he’ll understand what Daddy’s job is. It’s hard when he’s so young. I will hold him, he will fall asleep, and I don’t want to put him down. But it is an exciting journey for sure.”
His journey to this point actually started just over 10 years ago when he was offered a Kentucky scholarship by then offensive line coach John Schlarman. He was happy to be in Lexington for the annual Schlarman Strong Golf Scramble in memory of his former coach, who passed away three years ago from cancer. Young missed the 2022 event when he was rehabbing an injury.
“It was a bittersweet time. He (Schlarman) would not want us to be crying and feeling sorry for him,” Young said. “He would always want us to celebrate his life and the impact he had on all of us. It’s really amazing the impact he had on so many of us, and to be able to get together and reminisce and celebrate him was special.”
Young said it is important to keep letting LeeAnne Schlarman and her four children know what a huge impact John Schlarman had on so many.
“He spent time with us when we knew he had a wife and four kids. He was grooming us to be men. If we needed to talk, he talked. He took the whole OL (offensive line) room of 14 to 16 players under his wing,” Young said. “We should all always thank LeeAnne for what her husband did, and none of us will ever forget what he did for us.”