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Saints safeties Harper, Jenkins say mentoring their potential replacement is part of the NFL

  • New Orleans Saints defensive back Roman Harper reaches for the ball during practice at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)The Associated Press

  • New Orleans Saints defensive back Malcolm Jenkins stretches during NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Metairie, La., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)The Associated Press

  • New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches his team during NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Metairie, La., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)The Associated Press

  • New Orleans Saints defensive back Roman Harper loosens up during NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Metairie, La., Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)The Associated Press

A necessary but potentially awkward period has begun for Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins.

The defensive leaders and starting safeties find themselves tutoring a first-round draft choice who could very well take one of their jobs before long.

They knew this time was coming since New Orleans last month selected Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro 15th overall and coach Sean Payton said the Saints expect Vaccaro to contribute right away.

Harper, entering his eighth season, says mentors once helped him and now he needs to do the same.

Jenkins is in the fifth and last season of his contract. He says his focus is on winning now and that the addition of Vaccaro should help.

Vaccaro says he's felt fortunate to join a team with accomplished veterans willing to help him.