With their first iteration of a 53-man roster finalized, the Saints now turn their attention to filling out a 10-man practice squad, something they can begin doing at 11 a.m. local time Sunday, when the period for teams to put in claims for players waived Saturday expires.
Rookies the Saints waived Saturday who are eligible for their practice squad are center Matt Armstrong, wide receiver Brandon Coleman, linebacker Todd Davis, tight end Nic Jacobs, wide receiver Seantavius Jones, tackle Tavon Rooks, running back Derrick Strozier, defensive lineman Lawrence Virgil and safety Pierre Warren.
Cornerback Derrius Brooks, cornerback Trevin Wade, kicker Derek Dimke, cornerback Terrence Frederick, wide receiver Charles Hawkins as well as offensive linemen Jason Weaver and Marcel Jones are non-rookies waived Saturday who are nonetheless eligible for the practice squad.
By virtue of being kept on for longer in the course of the evaluation process, Saints players who were waived Saturday are more likely to be signed to New Orleans’ practice squad than those let go before. Warren and Jones both had impact plays in games this preseason, with the former picking off a pass against Baltimore and the latter catching a touchdown pass against Tennessee. Virgil was credited with a quarterback sack in a win at Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, Hawkins led the Saints in kickoff return yards — 105, all on three attempts in the loss to Baltimore. Those who thrived at times in training camp practices were Brooks, in pass coverage; Jacobs, hauling in throws in traffic; Wade, who was on the Saints’ active roster for four games in 2013, including two in the playoffs; Jones, while auditioning at guard and tackle after spending last season on the practice squad; and Strozier, especially catching out of the backfield.
Nonetheless, several players who were on the Saints’ 90-man training camp roster but didn’t make it past the first round of cuts Tuesday are eligible for the practice squad, too. They are quarterback Logan Kilgore, defensive end George Uko, offensive lineman Manase Foketi, linebacker Rufus Johnson Jr., linebacker Kevin Reddick, cornerback Roderick Sweeting, running back Timothy Flanders, tight end Je’Ron Hamm, outside linebacker Chidera Uzo-Diribe and wide receiver Tobais Palmer. All of them went unclaimed on the waiver wire the day after they were cut and became free agents.
Saints who are on season-ending injured reserve but would’ve been eligible for the practice squad if healthy and left off the 53-man roster were tackle Ty Nsekhe and safety Ty Zimmerman.
Earlier in August, NFL officials announced changes to practice squads in 2014 and 2015, which increased the maximum number of players from eight to 10 and expanded eligibility for players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons.
Previously, players who earned one or more accrued seasons were not allowed to be placed on practice squads unless the player spent fewer than nine games on the active roster in their accrued seasons.
Under the new rules, the two additional players on each practice squad can have up to 32 games on an active roster over their first two seasons. What this means is that anyone who was a rookie in 2012 or 2013 can now fill the final two practice squad spots.
The other eight players remain under the old rules.
Also, players must be on a practice squad for six games of a season in order for that campaign to count as one of the three seasons they are permitted to have on practice squads. It used to be three games.