Tulane’s Ryan Griffin signs with Saints

Advocate file photo by Susan PoagTulane QB Ryan Griffin looks for an open receiver in the fourth quarter against UAB  last season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Advocate file photo by Susan PoagTulane QB Ryan Griffin looks for an open receiver in the fourth quarter against UAB last season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin will be continuing his football career in New Orleans.

Griffin said he had signed a free-agent contact with the Saints Saturday shortly after not being selected in the draft.

“I left some of my stuff in New Orleans,” said Griffin, who returned to his home town of Westlake Village, Calif., after the Green Wave’s season ended. “Now I guess I’ll have to bring everything back.”

The Saints made no announcement of Griffin’s signing or that of any other free agents, although coach Sean Payton had said that the team would be signing one free agent quarterback with an eye toward having him in a developmental role, much as they had done with Chase Daniel in 2009.

Daniel recently signed with Kansas City and will compete for the starting job there.

“When I found out I wasn’t going to be drafted, I started working something out with the Saints because I knew it was a good fit for me and I would have a good chance to make the roster,” Griffin said. “I’m just very lucky to be in a situation like this.

“Honestly, being with Drew (Brees) and the chance to learn under him is unbelievable. You can’t ask for a better opportunity than that.”

The Saints have two veteran quarterbacks on the roster vying to be Brees’ backup, Luke McCown and Seneca Wallace.

Griffin (6-2, 220) had worked out for the Saints a few weeks ago and underwent Tulane’s Pro Day in the Saints’ indoor practice facility because of the construction of the Green Wave’s new stadium.

Griffin, who played for former Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson as a senior, threw for 9,026 yards and 56 touchdowns with 35 interceptions while at Tulane.

Additionally, former University of Louisiana at Monroe tight end Keavon Milton signed a free-agent deal with the Saints on Saturday.

Also Saturday, LSU center P.J. Lonergan, who prepped at Rummel, signed with Chicago, linebacker Devan Walker of Southeastern and Catholic High signed with San Diego, Southeastern quarterback Nathan Stanley signed with Baltimore, and former Louisiana Tech and Dutchtown offensive lineman Kevin Saia signed with St. Louis.

Camp coming

While the veteran players are going through offseason conditioning drills at present, the first look the coaching staff will get at the rookies is the team minicamp on May 10-12.

Payton said that while the primarily purpose of the minicamp is for orientation, there is evaluation going on as well.

“The goal is to give them an introduction to how we practice, how we teach, how we install meeting rooms on the field, the tempo and how to prepare them for what we are going to be doing at the OTAs in May,” he said. “But the mistake we can make is putting too much on them or trying to do too much, which prevents the player from playing as fast as he can to get a true evaluation on the player.

“In first rookie camp in 2006, Marques Colston really struggled, while the receiver out of Oregon State (Mike Hass) was running all over the place and catching the ball. If you had watched just that, you would have predicted the other player making the team and Marques not.”

Unintentional scouting

When Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was under consideration for the same post with the Saints, the staff watched film of the Bulldogs.

That, Payton said, helped bring more attention to third-round pick John Jenkins.

“We saw more film,” Payton said. “We had a little more exposure to their program based on the interview and the workouts.

“I think he (Jenkins) was part of it.”

SWAC drought

Third-round pick Terron Armstead is the first player taken from the SWAC since Frank Kearse of Alabama A&M went to Miami in 2011. He’s the first Arkansas-Pine Bluff player picked since San Diego took Courtney Van Buren in the third round in 2003. Van Buren also was the last offensive lineman from the SWAC to be drafted.

Armstead’s offensive line coach at UAPB was Damon Nivens, a former Southern offensive lineman and later an assistant coach under Pete Richardson.

Ready to go

Although Payton has said that he doesn’t really expect Armstead to start at left tackle as a rookie, Armstead views it differently.

“I really don’t see myself sitting out,” he said. “I love to play.

“I love being on the field and I have a problem sitting on the bench.”

What might have been

The Saints packaged their fourth-round pick (No. 109) with the one they received from the New York Jets (No. 106) to obtain Miami’s third round choice with which they took Jenkins.

The Dolphins then dealt No. 109 to Green Bay, which took tackle David Bakhtiari of Colorado.

With the other fourth-round pick the Saints held briefly before trading to get Jenkins, Miami took tight end Deion Sims of Michigan State.

The Saints had already traded their seventh-round pick (No. 220) to Seattle during training camp last year to obtain linebacker Barrett Ruud, who was cut after five games.

The Seahawks used the pick to draft guard Ryan Seymour of Vanderbilt.

Homecoming games

Robert Alford’s first regular-season game with the Atlanta Falcons will be against the Saints in the Superdome.

The Falcons made the Southeastern cornerback who prepped at Hammond High their second-round pick on Friday.

Two weeks after the Falcons game, Tyrann Mathieu will be playing in his hometown as the Arizona Cardinals visit the Saints. Mathieu went to the Cardinals in the third round.

No staying put

The Saints are never one to go without making trades on draft day. In fact, the last time they didn’t was 1989 when Wayne Martin led a group of 12 picks.

It wasn’t a particularly distinguished group though. Other than Martin, only wide receiver Floyd Turner, a sixth-rounder out of Northwestern State, lasted more than three years and the trio of cornerbacks taken in the second, third and fourth rounds — Robert Massey, Kim Phillips and Michael Mayes — played for a total of four seasons.