Work never stops. The 24 hour rule has passed, and now the Saints are looking at what they can do to prepare for the offseason and a hopeful 2020 return to the playoffs. Down in Mobile the Senior Bowl is getting ready to take off, but first Mickey Loomis and company have signed nine players to reserve/future contracts, per Amie Just of The Adovcate.
WR Emmanuel Butler
WR Tim White
TE Cole Wick
TE Mitchell Loewen
RB Taquan Mizzell
S Chris Johnson
LB Andrew Dowell
OL Derrick Kelly
DT Jalen Dalton
Many of the names will be familiar to Saints fans such as Mitchell Loewen, who has been with the team since 2016, that switched positions from defensive line to tight end earlier this year. That transition started in Week 3 against Seattle, and Head Coach Sean Payton noted that it’s been a positive change as the team hoped to turn Loewen into a blocking tight end.
Butler was a fan favorite and one of the many training camp standouts from 2019. He’s a player to watch under receiver coach Curtis Johnson. Another interesting addition was Mizzel who played runningback for Virginia, but was used in spots as a receiver for the Chicago Bears in 2017 and 2018. He is the only player in ACC history with 1,500+ rushing yards and 1,500 receiving yards.
A big frame tight end in Wick, who has been around the league with various teams and practice squads since 2016, seems to continue to add a room the Saints have made clear efforts to work on the past few seasons.
White is listed as a receiver, but his time in the NFL has been spent as that of a return man for the Baltimore Ravens returning 9 punts and 6 kickoffs. With the Saints nabbing All-Pro Deonte Harris it could be tough for White to make the roster, but competition is always welcome.
Johnson was a practice squad player for the Philadelphia Eagles and came into the league with the Houston Texans before ultimately being cut in October. A three year collegiate starter out of North Alabama who played in the East-West Shrine Game last year.
Earlier this season Dowell was released from the Dallas Cowboys with an injury settlement before working out for the Green Bay Packers. He has experience at both linebacker and special teams. Dowell earned a letter with Michigan State as a freshman, one of only six players, as he played in 13 games with most of his action coming on special teams. In 2018 Dowell finished his career as an honorable mention All Big Ten player.
Every year the Saints bring in versatile offensive linemen who aren’t limited to a single position across the front, and Kelly fits right in with that paradigm. New Orleans brought Kelly in last offseason as an undrafted free agent, and it looks like he’ll be rejoining the team in the spring to get another chance at working with the team.
Last, but certainly not least, Dalton is a lengthy (6’6) interior defensive lineman out of North Carolina. At only 22 years old there is growth and development value there.