Sources: Saints sign seven players to practice squad

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Saints kicker Derek Dimke leaves the field in a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Saints kicker Derek Dimke leaves the field in a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The dream of representing the Saints in a regular-season NFL game in 2014 lives on for a few players left off the first 53-man roster the team finalized Saturday. New Orleans began signing players to its 10-member practice squad Sunday, according to sources, though the team did not release its official list.

League sources said undrafted rookie wide receivers Seantavius Jones (Valdosta State) and Brandon Coleman (Rutgers) were among at least seven who were given spots on the Saints’ practice squad, where players are not on New Orleans’ 53-man roster but train as if they were and can be promoted to the active list. They can also be signed to the 53-man rosters of other teams.

Others were cornerbacks Trevin Wade and Terrence Frederick; tackle Tavon Rooks, the Saints’ sixth-round draft selection out of Kansas State in May; undrafted rookie linebacker Todd Davis; and undrafted rookie nose tackle Lawrence Virgil.

The Saints like Coleman because of his towering height at 6 feet, 6 inches; and he caught five passes for 50 yards in a preseason that saw New Orleans win three of four exhibitions. However, he had issues dropping throws in training camp and exhibitions, was waived Saturday, went unclaimed by the NFL’s other teams and will attempt to develop on the practice squad.

“I got my foot in the door on the practice squad, and that’s a start,” Coleman wrote in a message he distributed on Twitter. “The odds are against me, but I was never a math wiz (laughing out loud) all I know is how to grind.”

Jones is also relatively tall for a wide receiver at 6-3. He caught three passes for 17 yards and a touchdown in preseason, and he displayed an ability to catch passes thrown either deep or in traffic in training camp.

Wade logged 54 snaps on defense for the Saints over their last four games of 2013, two of which were in the playoffs. He had a pass defense and two tackles (one solo) before going through training camp and the exhibitions with the team.

Frederick was on Cleveland’s practice squad when he signed with the Saints in late December.

He was inactive for the regular-season finale and two playoff games before he mostly worked with the backup units in training camp and a pair of exhibitions. He missed two exhibitions with an injury.

Rooks played 28 offensive snaps in preseason. He surrendered a quarterback sack on the Saints’ last offensive drive of the preseason in a 22-13 defeat against Baltimore on Thursday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and he was whistled for offensive holding in a win at St. Louis on Aug. 8.

Davis, out of Sacramento State, tied for second on the Saints this preseason with 15 tackles (10 solo). He also had one quarterback hit; and, on special teams, he recorded two tackles and recovered a fumble.

Virgil — also out of Valdosta State — had five tackles (three solo), two quarterback hits and an 11-yard sack this preseason.

Nine other young players the Saints waived Saturday went unclaimed: center Matt Armstrong, cornerback Derrius Brooks, kicker Derek Dimke, wide receiver Charles Hawkins, tight end Nic Jacobs, tackle/guard Marcel Jones, running back Derrick Strozier, safety Pierre Warren and tackle Jason Weaver. Of those, perhaps the most promising name is Warren, whose finest moment of several this preseason was an interception in the Baltimore exhibition.

All are eligible for the practice squad.

The Saints didn’t put in claims for any players waived by other NFL teams, according to the transaction wire.

Advocate staff writer Nick Underhill contributed to this report.