New Orleans Saints' Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterAugust 27, 2013

New Orleans Saints' Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

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    After a dismal 7-9 2012 season, the quicker the New Orleans Saints can get to the 2013 regular season the better. Head coach Sean Payton is back from suspension, the defense is being completely overhauled to a 3-4 scheme and a few roster moves have been announced.

    The Saints made cuts to 75 players on their roster by the Tuesday deadline at 3 p.m. CT. Now the team must get down to their 53-man roster by Saturday at 5 p.m. CT. There will be many tough decisions for this coaching staff and we’ll keep you informed on who’s made the cut and who’s going home.

    Here’s a tracker we’ll be updating throughout the chaos.

List of 53-Man Roster Cuts

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    The Saints sent one player to injured reserve, terminated the contracts of four players and waived 17 players Saturday to finalize their 53-man roster.

    Here's the list of players:

    • Courtney Roby, WR (contract terminated)
    • Jay Richardson, DE (contract terminated)
    • Chris Carr, CB (contract terminated)
    • Jim Leonhard, S (contract terminated)
    • Eric Olsen, C (injured reserve)
    • Ryan Griffin, QB (waived)
    • Preston Parker, WR (waived)
    • Austin Johnson, FB (waived)
    • Saalim Hakin, WR (waived)
    • Elliott Mealer, G (waived)
    • Keavon Milton, TE (waived)
    • Michael Higgins, TE (waived)
    • Andrew Tiller, G (waived)
    • Jeremiah Warren, C (waived)
    • Ray Shipman, LB (waived)
    • Rufus Johnson, LB (waived)
    • Isaako Aaitui, DL (waived)
    • Jerico Nelson, S (waived)
    • Baraka Atkins, LB (waived)
    • Marcel Jones, T (waived)
    • Korey Lindsey, CB (waived)
    • Jumal Rolle, CB (waived)

    One of the bigger surprises here was the fact that the Saints terminated the contract of Jay Richardson. The Saints need capable pass-rush specialists and Richardson fit the bill. His departure might mean that the team's confidence in linebackers Junior Galette and Martez Wilson is high and they are ready for Week 1.

    New Orleans kept five running backs, which is a bit of a surprise as well.

The Practice Squad

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    The Saints signed six players to their practice squad on Sunday.

    • QB Ryan Griffin 
    • WR Saalim Hakim 
    • TE Michael Higgins 
    • FB Austin Johnson 
    • T Marcel Jones 
    • CB Jumal Rolle

    The league rules allow teams to carry eight players on the practice squad, so New Orleans should sign two more players at a later date.

    New Orleans filled its practice squad on Monday. Rufus Johnson spent the entire offseason with the Saints and the outside linebacker position has been thinned due to injury. 

    • OLB Rufus Johnson
    • OL Senio Kelemete

     

Final Depth Chart

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    53-Man Roster

    Offense (25)

    WR: Marques Colston, Nick Toon, Robert Meachem

    LT: Charles Brown, Terron Armstead

    LG: Ben Grubbs

    C: Brian de la Puente

    RG: Jahri Evans, Tim Lelito

    RT: Zach Strief, Bryce Harris

    TE: Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson, Josh Hill

    WR: Lance Moore, Andy Tanner, Kenny Stills

    QB: Drew Brees, Luke McCown

    FB: Jed Collins

    RB: Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Travaris Cadet, Khiry Robinson

     

    Defense (25)

    DE: Akiem Hicks, Glenn Foster

    NT: Brodrick Bunkley, John Jenkins

    DE: Cameron Jordan, Tom Johnson, Tyrunn Walker

    OLB: Junior Galette

    ILB: David Hawthorne, Will Herring

    ILB: Curtis Lofton, Ramon Humber, Kevin Reddick

    OLB: Martez Wilson, Parys Haralson

    CB: Jabari Greer, Corey White, Rod Sweeting

    S: Roman Harper, Kenny Vaccaro

    S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rafael Bush, Isa Abdul-Quddus

    CB: Keenan Lewis, Patrick Robinson

     

    Special Teams (3)

    P: Thomas Morstead

    K: Garrett Hartley

    LS: Justin Drescher, Jed Collins

    H: Thomas Morstead

    PR: Darren Sproles, Travaris Cadet, Lance Moore

    KR: Darren Sproles, Travaris Cadet, Pierre Thomas

    KO: Thomas Morstead, Garrett Hartley

Starters and Injury Notes

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    One of the most unsafe jobs in the NFL right now seems to be playing linebacker or defensive end for the Saints. Will Smith was lost for the season Monday with a torn ACL, according to a report by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, linebacker Victor Butler went down in July with a torn ACL and defensive end Kenyon Coleman tore his pectoral muscle during the first week of training camp.

     

    Projected Starters

    QB: Drew Brees

    RB: Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas

    WR: Marques Colston, Lance Moore

    TE: Jimmy Graham

    OT: Charles Brown, Zach Strief

    OG: Ben Grubbs, Jahri Evans

     C: Brian de la Puente

    DE: Akiem Hicks, Cam Jordan

    NT: Brodrick Bunkley

    OLB: Junior Galette, Martez Wilson*

    ILB: Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne

    CB: Jabari Greer, Keenan Lewis

    SS: Roman Harper

    FS: Malcolm Jenkins

    *Martez Wilson is listed as a starting outside linebacker because Will Smith was injured Monday, and the Saints have reportedly traded for San Francisco linebacker Parys Haralson, but no confirmation has been given by the Saints.

     

    Injury Notes

    Kenyon Coleman, DE (pectoral): Coleman was slated to be the starting left end, but new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was forced to shuffle after Coleman’s injury on Aug. 6.

    Will Smith, OLB (knee): Smith’s torn ACL on Monday throws another monkey wrench into the Saints’ plans at linebacker.

    Victor Butler, OLB (knee): Butler tore his ACL in minicamp, so the Saints have had some time to figure out a way to replace him. However, with all the injuries at the linebacker position, depth is becoming an issue.

    Marques Colston, WR (foot): Colston has been held out of preseason action because of a foot injury, but is expected to be ready by Week 1 of the regular season when the Saints host the Atlanta Falcons.

    Jonathan Vilma, LB (knee): Vilma has been placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, according to the Times-Picayune.

First Round of Cuts

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    The Saints made the following nine roster moves to get 79 players on their roster, and then added linebacker Parys Haralson Monday to land at 80. New Orleans will need to deal with (release, waive to move to an injured list) more players to get to the required 75-man roster limit:

    • Steve Breaston, WR (terminated)
    • Patrick Crayton, WR (terminated)
    • Seneca Wallace, QB (terminated)
    • Jarred Fayson, WR (waived)
    • Ricky Henry, G (waived)
    • Chase Thomas, OLB (waived)
    • Dion Turner, CB (waived)
    • Kenyon Coleman, DE (moved to IR)

    Shortly before the 3 p.m. CT deadline for roster cuts, the Saints made the following moves to put their roster exactly at 75 players:

    • Eric Martin, LB (waived)
    • Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, S (waived)
    • Tim Toone, WR (waived)
    • Will Smith, LB (injured reserve)
    • Joe Morgan, WR (injured reserve)
    • Chris Chamberlain, LB (injured reserve)
    • Victor Butler, LB (PUP list)

    The Saints also claimed cornerback Jumal Rolle off waivers.

     

Previewing 53-Man Roster Cuts and Depth Chart Post 75-Man Roster Cuts

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    The Saints have their depth chart posted on their website. After removing the seven players involved in Tuesday’s transactions and adding Rolle, their new cornerback from Buffalo, here’s what it looks like:

    Post 75-man Depth Chart

    Offense

    WR: Marques Colston, Nick Toon, Saalim Hakim, Courtney Roby

    LT: Charles Brown, Terron Armstead

    LG: Ben Grubbs, Andrew Tiller, Elliott Mealer

    C: Brian de la Puente, Eric Olsen, Jeremiah Warren

    RG: Jahri Evans, Tim Lelito

    RT: Zach Strief, Marcel Jones, Bryce Harris

    TE: Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson, Mike Higgins, Josh Hill, Keavon Milton

    WR: Lance Moore, Andy Tanner, Kenny Stills, Preston Parker

    QB: Drew Brees, Luke McCown, Ryan Griffin

    FB: Jed Collins, Austin Johnson

    RB: Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Travaris Cadet, Khiry Robinson

     

    Defense

    DE: Akiem Hicks, Jay Richardson, Glenn Foster

    NT: Brodrick Bunkley, John Jenkins, Isaako Aaitui

    DE: Cameron Jordan, Tom Johnson, Tyrunn Walker

    OLB: Junior Galette, Rufus Johnson

    ILB: Jonathan Vilma, David Hawthorne, Will Herring, Ray Shipman

    ILB: Curtis Lofton, Ramon Humber, Kevin Reddick

    OLB: Martez Wilson, Baraka Atkins, Parys Haralson

    CB: Jabari Greer, Corey White, Rod Sweeting, Jumal Rolle

    S: Roman Harper, Jim Leonhard, Kenny Vaccaro

    S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rafael Bush, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Jerico Nelson

    CB: Keenan Lewis, Patrick Robinson, Korey Lindsey, Chris Carr

     

    Special Teams

    P: Thomas Morstead

    K: Garrett Hartley

    LS: Justin Drescher, Jed Collins

    H: Thomas Morstead

    PR: Darren Sproles, Travaris Cadet, Lance Moore

    KR: Darren Sproles, Travaris Cadet, Pierre Thomas

    KO: Thomas Morstead, Garrett Hartley

     

    Previewing the 53-Man Roster Cuts

    Playing general manager is the best, but remember only Mickey Loomis has all the answers, and he's not talking to anyone at this point. Here's a look at how the Saints might get to 53 players.

    • Ryan Griffin, QB: With Brees starting and McCown a capable backup, Griffin won't be kept around. But he may be back as a practice-squad player.
    • Saalim Hakim, WR: Hakim didn't spend a lot of time on the field in preseason action and when he did he seemed to get hurt repeatedly.
    • Courtney Roby, WR: Roby is a tough cut as he's a valuable special-teams player. But Andy Tanner may have passed Roby in the chase for that final receiver spot.
    • Khiry Robinson, RB: There's no way Robinson can make this team with the depth the Saints have at running back.
    • Austin Johnson, FB: Johnson makes sense on special teams but it's unfathomable that the Saints keep two fullbacks.
    • Josh Hill, TE: Hill has special-teams merit, but there a few tweaner's in front of him.
    • Keavon Milton, TE: Milton was hardly used on offense in the preseason and New Orleans is rich at the position.
    • Marcel Jones, T: Jones could catch on with the Saints on their practice squad, but there are too many linemen in front of him for the 53-man roster.
    • Andrew Tiller, G: Tiller missed the entire 2012 season and likely won't get a chance to land on the 53-man roster.
    • Elliott Mealer, G: Mealer played just 28 snaps through three preseason games and didn’t show well in run blocking while on the field.
    • Eric Olsen, G: Olsen struggled in preseason action and was outplayed by undrafted rookie Tim Lelito.
    • Jeremiah Warren, G: Warren didn't show well while run blocking during the preseason.
    • Isaako Aaitui, DL: In just 22 defensive snaps, Aaitui has shown deficiencies in both run stopping and in pass-rush situations.
    • Tom Johnson, DL: A groin injury slowed Johnson early in camp and he has been unable to completely brush off the rust.
    • Baraka Atkins, LB: Atkins got a lot of opportunities in preseason action to prove himself and he didn't fare well rushing the passer or in coverage.
    • Ray Shipman, LB: Shipman played just 38 defensive snaps through three preseason games and barely made a dent in pass-rushing situations.
    • Jim Leonhard, S: Leonhard didn't make much of an impact on the preseason as he only played on 41 defensive snaps.
    • Jerico Nelson, S: Nelson didn't record one special teams tackle and only played 36 snaps on defense.
    • Rod Sweeting, CB: Sweeting hasn't done enough in preseason action to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster but his camp showing might get home called back for the practice squad.
    • Chris Carr, CB: A missed tackle on special teams might have done Carr in. He put up some good numbers on defense but had very little time (39 snaps) to get into a rhythm.
    • Korey Lindsey, CB: There might not be enough room on the Saints roster for Lindsey even though he performed well in preseason action.

Recently Cut Free Agents Saints Are Rumored to Be Pursuing

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    The San Diego Chargers cut wide receiver Robert Meachem on Saturday, according to the Union-Tribune San Diego.

    Meachem was a dud in San Diego, catching just 14 passes, a career low. Prior to his season with the Chargers, Meachem spent four years in New Orleans and scored 23 touchdowns during his tenure there. It's possible the Saints take a look at bringing him back.

    On Tuesday, Bill Williamson of ESPN posted a tweet about Meachem being close to signing a deal with the Saints.

    Breaking: Former #Charger WR Robert Meachem on verge of signing with #Saints.

    — Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonESPN) September 3, 2013

    The Saints did re-sign Meachem to a one-year deal on Tuesday, according to the Times-Picayune