For many rookie NFL players, rather drafted or undrafted, today can be perhaps the roughest time in their young careers as the final roster cut from 75 to 53 players must happen today by 3 pm.
Some will land on practice squads, others will be signed by opposing teams, but for some their destiny will lead them outside the NFL to the common life and a nine to five job.
The Saints were faced with some tough decisions on some veteran players, free safety Darren Sharper and linebacker Clint Ingram, who both underwent off-season micro- fracture knee surgery.
Ingram was signed to a one year deal via the Jacksonville Jaguars and was expected to compete at strong side linebacker. Sharper returned to the Saints after co-leading the NFL last season with nine interceptions, three of which he took back for scores.
Both players were on the verge of being cut but now will start the 2010 season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) which will side line them for the first six weeks of the season with a target return date of October 24th before the Cleveland Browns game.
In a worse case scenario the Saints lost starting weak side linebacker Jonathan Casillas to a foot injury suffered in the last preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.
He was promoted to a starting role after a strong preseason, a move that allowed the current starting weakside linebacker Scott Shanle to be moved to the strong side of William’s defense. No word on if Shanle will make the move back to the weakside.
Now the Saints are left scrambling for answers as they prepare to face the Minnesota Vikings in a very hyped game next Thursday that will kick-off the 2010 season.
Rumor has it the Saints are shopping for a linebacker via trade with any team willing to listen which means a current player on the roster may be on the trade block. If the Saints cannot materialize a trade there is always a chance that they will sign a player off waivers.
Some of the more notable cuts were defensive end Bobby McCray, quarterback Patrick Ramsey, running back Ladell Betts, safety Chip Vaughn, center Nick Leckey, defensive tackle DeMario Pressley, defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy and defensive tackle Al Woods.
Woods, Vaughn and Pressley were all draft picks of the Saints over the last two seasons and may yet be eligible to return to the team through the practice squad.
Veteran quarterback Patrick Ramsey, who was signed right before training camp, was considered the favorite of many to secure the top backup spot behind Drew Brees this season but second year pro Chase Daniel’s play and undeniable upside proved too much for Ramsey to overcome.
Bobby McCray was once in-line to replace former starting left defensive end Charles Grant this off-season but was released in June only to be resigned a few weeks later. Junior Galette, and undrafted free agent out of Stillman College, proved his worth through training camp and preseason games garnering the praise of the coaching staff essentially edging McCray out and off the teams.
Galette’s addition may prove to be a valuable one if he continues to progress as the Saints think he will so don’t be surprised when he turns in some very memorable plays this year.
Complete list of roster cuts:
- QB Patrick Ramsey
- FB Zak Keasey
- FB Jason McKie
- RB Ladell Betts
- TE Tyler Lorenzen
- WR Montez Billings
- G Brandon Carter
- G Terrence Metcalf
- C Nick Leckey
- G/T Na’Shan Goddard
- OT Jermey Parnell
- DT Kendrick Clancy
- DT DeMario Pressley
- DT Al Woods
- DT Jay Ross
- DE Bobby McCray
- LB Harry Coleman
- S Chip Vaughn
- CB Reggie Jones
- FS Darren Sharper
- LB Clint Ingram
- LB Jonathan Casillas
Current 53-man roster:
Quarterbacks:Drew Brees, Chase Daniel (2)
Running Backs:Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Chris Ivory, DeShawn Wynn (4)
Fullback: Heath Evans (1)
Wide Receivers:Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Courtney Roby, Adrian Arrington (6)
Tight Ends:David Thomas, Jeremy Shockey, Jimmy Graham, Tory Humphrey (4)
Offensive Linemen:Jermon Bushrod, Jon Stinchcomb, Zach Strief, Charles Brown, Jahri Evans, Carl Nicks, Jonathan Goodwin, Matt Tennant (8)
Defensive Linemen:Will Smith, Alex Brown, Jeff Charleston, Junior Galette, Jimmy Wilkerson, Anthony Hargrove, Sedrick Ellis, Remi Ayodele (8)
Linebackers:SLB Scott Shanle, MLB Jonathan Vilma, WLB K.C. Asiodu, MLB Marvin Mitchell, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, SLB Anthony Waters, WLB Stanley Arnoux (7)
Defensive Backs:CB Tracy Porter, CB Jabari Greer, CB Randall Gay, CB Patrick Robinson, CB Leigh Torrence, S Malcolm Jenkins, SRoman Harper, S Pierson Prioleau, S Chris Reis, S Usama Young (10)
Specialists:K Garrett Hartley, P Thomas Morstead, LS Jason Kyle (3)
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