As we count down from 50 days until the New Orleans Saints begin their regular season in Atlanta, on September 7th, we're getting to know a little bit about those players who have signed on to bring home another Lombardi trophy.
Today, we cover three rookies, none of which were picked up by the Saints until relatively recently.
So, with no more ado:
45 DAYS UNTIL ATLANTA!!!
#95: Todd Davis (LB, Rookie)
Towards the end of last month, the Saints waived injured cornerback A.J. Davis and signed rookie linebacker Todd Davis.
Todd Davis was a three-year starter who led Sacramento State in tackles every season since his sophomore campaign. As a middle and outside linebacker for the Hornets, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Davis played in 45 games with 351 career tackles, 9.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three interceptions and six PBUs. He notched 131 tackles and five sacks as a senior.
Who did Todd Davis replace? A second-year pro from Jacksonville State, A.J. Davis signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2012. A.J. was waived with an injury settlement in the 2012 preseason and then placed on the practice squad. He was then activated to the roster, and played only one game with the team -- on special teams, against the Carolina Panthers in the 2012 season finale -- during which he recorded no statistics. He spent the entire 2013 season on injured reserve.
Too New for
The New Orleans Saints announced this week that they signed nose tackle Tyrone Ezell and linebacker Marcus Thompson, and waived nose tackle Moses McCray (Rookie #63) and waived/failed physical outside linebacker Cheta Ozougwu (Rookie #99). The roster on the official website hasn't been updated with the newcomers' names, much less numbers. But who are they?
#??: Tyrone Ezell (NT, Rookie)
With John Jenkins on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list list, another sizable nose tackle was picked up by the Saints this week. The Houston Texans picked up UDFA Tyrone Ezell (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) out of Pittsburgh in May, but then released him less than two weeks later. Ezell had six sacks in four years of college football, and may have drawn a little interest by recording the only two sacks of his senior year in the Little Caesar Bowl.
Ezell has reportedly been considering a career in pro wrestling if the NFL doesn't work out. He didn't have to put those plans on hold for very long before being released again in May. What are the chances his accomplishments in training camp with the Saints will surpass his 10-day stint as a Texans hopeful? Until Jenkins comes off the PUP list, Ezell should at least get some snaps with the second team. The rest is up to him.
#??: Marcus Thompson (LB, Rookie)
After this year's draft, linebacker Marcus Thompson indicated he had interest from several NFL clubs. A native of Broward County, FL, Marcus reportedly dreamed of playing for the Miami Dolphins; and that's where the UDFA out of Rutgers first signed in May.
Thompson's dream likely didn't include getting cut less than two months after being signed to an NFL team. But in order to add guard Daryn Colledge, the Dolphins waived the rookie linebacker to stay at the 90-player roster limit. Three weeks after clearing waivers, he was picked up by New Orleans. Now he gets a second chance to impress, starting with the first official practice of training camp tomorrow.
Thompson started 26 games at Rutgers, and finished his career with 91 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. He was named the team's co-defensive MVP as a senior, after leading the Scarlet Knights with 5.5 sacks last year. He will have to work hard to get noticed among Rob Ryan's healthy squad of quality linebackers.