Jan 1, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Ryan Broyles (85) has the ball knocked out of his hands by Connecticut Huskies linebacker Lawrence Wilson (8) after a 64-yard punt return in the 3rd quarter of the 2011 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Sooners won the game 48-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

New Orleans Saints make roster moves at conclusion of rookie mini-camp

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The New Orleans Saints continue to improve the roster after agreeing to terms with four players at the conclusion of this weekends rookie mini-camp while releasing five.

The team has signed tackle Hutch Eckerson, linebacker Lawrence Wilson, cornerback Nick Hixson, and guard DeOn’tae Pannell.

They released tackle Dan Hoch, linebacker Stephen Johnson, tackle Phil Trautwein, guard Nick Howell, and cornerback Josh Victorian.

Eckerson spent several seasons with the South Carolina Gamecocks, seeing action at both the tackle and guard position, although he is much more suited to guard at the NFL level.

Wilson was a pretty good linebacker for the University of Connecticut, starting in 50 of a possible 53 games.

The bulk of his playing time was at the middle linebacker position, but he did play at outside linebacker — where the Saints will likely use him —  during his senior season.

In 2009, and 2010, he was a A First Team All-Big East Conference selection after recording 263 tackles over those two seasons with 8.5 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss.

Last year the Carolina Panthers selected Wilson at the top of the 6th round. He did not make the final roster, but he was placed on the practice squad.

But Wilson didn’t last long with the Panthers as he was cut in early in November, five days after being arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.

Hixson was a versatile player for Hillsdale College. His primary position was cornerback, but he also was a kick returner and even played as a wide receiver his senior year where he notched 25 catches for 389 yards and two touchdowns.

He was a starter for three of his four seasons with Hillsdale, finishing his collegiate career with 256 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, seven interceptions, and 19 pass deflections.

New Orleans has signed Hixson as an option at cornerback, not wide receiver.

Pannell was a main stay on Penn State’s offensive line for several seasons. He is versatile enough to play the guard or tackle position, but should he stick with the Saints will be used primarily for backup at the guard.

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Tags: Cornerback Josh Victorian. Cornerback Nick Hixson Guard DeOn’tae Pannell Guard Nick Howell Linebacker Lawrence Wilson Linebacker Stephen Johnson New Orleans Saints Tackle Dan Hoch Tackle Hutch Eckerson Tackle Phil Trautwein The Saints

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