As teams across the NFL continue to sort out the final pieces of their 53-man rosters, the 10-man practice squad rosters are also starting to take shape.
The New Orleans Saints announced their 10-man practice squad Monday morning, with a move or two still looming in the near future in regards to their 53-man roster. The Saints are still without a kicker on their roster, and are likely to bring one in by tomorrow. One of Shayne Graham or Derek Dimke, who were both released by the Saints on Saturday, could still be an option as the team continues to set up its roster.
New Orleans is yet to use its short-term injured reserve designation, which will immediately free up an opening on the roster. Fullback Erik Lorig and rookie LB Khairi Fortt seem like the most logical candidates for the designation, as both are battling injuries that could keep them out of action for the first few weeks of the season. Players designated with the short-term injury tag are eligible to return as soon as week 6.
As for the practice squad, the league recently expanded the number of roster slots from 8 to 10, granting teams two extra spots to keep talented players they feel may be in line for a promotion to the 53-man roster. Those players are eligible to practice and work out with the team, though they can not be used on game day unless signed to the active roster.
Teams are free to sign players off of any other franchise's practice squad without compensation, as the players are still essentially "free agents." This is a reason why last year, New Orleans elected to promote backup QB Ryan Griffin to the active roster, as teams were said to be preparing to swoop for the highly-regarded signal-caller.
Here is a look at the Saints' 10-man practice squad:
New Orleans Saints Practice Squad
All of the above players, with the exception of McClain, had spent time in training camp and preseason with the Saints. Coleman, Jones, Jacobs, Davis, Virgil and Warren were all undrafted free agents who signed with the team in May and June. The players showed enough in practices, workouts and preseason games to warrant a place on the practice squad.
Both Coleman and Jones are talented receivers who flashed their respective skills across the team's four preseason contests. The 6-6 Coleman could be groomed as a future jump ball/red zone threat, while Jones displayed solid route running and athleticism throughout the summer. Kansas State alum Tavon Rooks has earned a place on the New Orleans Saints' 10-man practice squad.
Warren was one of the team's most impressive and consistent performers throughout training camp and preseason games. He was unlucky to not make it through final cuts, but the Saints are certainly glad that he was able to clear waivers and land on their practice squad.
Virgil was a victim of a numbers crunch on the defensive line, though he demonstrated enough to be handed a spot on the practice squad. With the likes of John Jenkins and Brodrick Bunkley having battled recent injuries, Virgil could be firmly on the cusp of a promotion to the active roster in the event of another injury along the team's defensive front.
Jacobs stood out as a reserve tight end during preseason. The McNeese State alum, who began his career at LSU, took advantage of an injury to fellow undrafted rookie Je'Ron Hamm to seal his place as the team's next man up at the tight end spot, in the event of an injury to one of Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson or Josh Hill.
Davis was always a long shot to crack the roster at one of the team's most crowded positions, yet he showed out as a capable 'backer with the skills to play on special teams coverage units, a valuable trait in terms of sticking on a roster.
Rooks was a sixth-round draft choice of the Saints in May, and could be developed as a future option along the offensive line.
Frederick and Wade spent time on the team's active roster last year, but did not make it through final cuts this time around. However, both will be in place to continue working out with the organization, and could be in line for a promotion to the 53-man roster in the event of an injury.
McClain joins the Saints' practice squad after stints with the Ravens, Raiders and Bills. The Clemson alum spent most of the 2013 season in Buffalo, working as a reserve on the offensive line for the team's final 11 games. He went uundrafted in 2012.
As for any other forthcoming roster moves regarding the New Orleans Saints or your favorite NFL club, check back with Fantasy Knuckleheads for all the latest news and notes.