Saints sign Sunseri, Powell and Rooks to four-year contracts

Like many other NFL teams, the New Orleans Saints have gotten a head start on signing the players they selected in last week’s draft.

On Friday, the day their rookie minicamp began, the Saints signed three of the six players they acquired in the draft: strong safety Vinnie Sunseri, outside linebacker Ronald Powell and tackle Tavon Rooks.

All three signed standard four-year rookie deals that will pay them base salaries of $420,000 (2014), $495,000 (2015), $570,000 (2016) and $645,000 (2017) along with a signing bonus based on where they were picked.

Sunseri and Powell were selected in the fifth round with the 167th and 169th picks, respectively, while Rooks was the Saints’ sixth-round pick at No. 202.

Powell was selected with the pick the Saints obtained from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for running back Darren Sproles.

Sunseri, a 6-foot, 200-pounder, played in 34 games with 14 starts for Alabama. He had 105 tackles, four interceptions, 12 passes defensed with one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries in his career.

Powell played at Florida. The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder appeared in 36 games with 21 starts and had career totals of 84 tackles, 11 sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Rooks (6-5, 300) played the last two seasons at Kansas State after transferring from Navarro (Texas) Junior College. He started 23 of his 26 games at right tackle for K-State in 2012 and ’13.

The quick signing of the three rookies Friday continues a trend that began when the collective bargaining agreement — hammered out in 2011 — included a slotted wage scale for draft picks.

The Saints’ remaining undrafted draft picks are wide receiver Brandin Cooks (first round, No. 20), cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste (second round, No. 58) and inside linebacker Khairi Fortt (fourth round, No. 126).

All six draftees are taking part in the team’s three-day rookie minicamp that began Friday.

They were joined by the 17 college free agents the Saints signed after the draft concluded last Saturday night, assorted first-year players, and other newcomers to the team as well as an undisclosed number of players who were invited to participate in the minicamp on a tryout basis.

The five minicamp sessions are closed to the public.