A new-look running backs room and the continuation of one of the best stories of the preseason underline today’s announcements. The Seahawks had made some cuts in the days leading up to the deadline, but here are the remaining moves the team made to get down to 53 players:
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Jake Bobo gets rewarded for his outstanding preseason performance and will be suiting up in Week 1 of the regular season. The UCLA standout could even earn some significant playing time early as rookie first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba deals with a fractured wrist and Dareke Young and Cody Thompson also deal with injuries.
Veteran former first-round pick Artie Burns survives the final round of roster cuts. Finally healthy, Burns played well in the slot, moving inside as rookie first-round pick Devon Witherspoon dealt with injuries and Coby Bryant played a bit at safety.
Derrick Gore is probably the most intriguing signee on the list, with the running back having seen time in 11 games for the Chiefs in 2021. He finished that season with 361 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns, but he didn’t have a chance for a followup performance in Kansas City. After landing on IR in late August last year, he was ultimately released by the Chiefs. Gore caught on with the Saints and spent the majority of the 2022 season on their practice squad.
Yasir Durant is another Chiefs product, with the lineman getting into 11 games for Kansas City in 2020. He appeared in seven games for the Patriots in 2021 before spending most of last season on the Saints practice squad. He’ll be taking the roster spot previously held by Christian DiLauro, who got into five games for the Titans and Broncos over the past two years.
Darius Harris will be joining the Raiders following a career year in Kansas City. After being limited to only 11 games through his first two seasons in the NFL, Harris got into all 17 games for the Chiefs last year, including four starts. The former UDFA finished the year with 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and he added another five tackles in three playoff games. One of Harris’s strongest performances of the 2022 season came against the Raiders when he had 10 tackles and a sack.
Keke Coutee and Lynn Bowden worked out for the Saints at their minicamp this week, NewOrleans.football’s Nick Underhill notes (Twitterlinks). Each will earn an invitation to the next Saints round of practices.
The Saints are signing both wide receivers, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Additionally, New Orleans waived wideout Malik Flowers, running backSaRodorick Thompsonand offensive lineman Yasir Durant.
Coutee, 26, spent last season with the Colts; Bowden, 25, logged time on the Patriots’ practice squad. The former mid-round picks will vie for backup spots in New Orleans, which lost Jarvis Landry this offseason. The Saints still re-signed Michael Thomas, hoping the NFL single-season reception record holder can shake the injuries that have defined his 2020s, and return second-year speedster Rashid Shaheed. Longtime tertiary option Tre’Quan Smith also remains rostered, while the Saints signedBryan Edwards and drafted A.T. Perry in the sixth round.
Best known for his time as a Texans slot receiver, Coutee failed to make Houston’s 2021 active roster and trekked to Indianapolis. The Texas Tech alum served as a regular punt returner with the Colts last season. That represented his most notable work since 2020, when the former fourth-round pick established a career highs with 33 catches for 400 yards and three touchdowns. Since Deshaun Watson‘s on-field Houston finale, however, Coutee has only caught two passes. He auditioned for the Packers earlier this offseason.
A former third-round Raiders pick, Bowden is probably best known for being traded to the Dolphins before he could suit up for a game in Las Vegas. The 2020 draftee saw some action as a Dolphins slot/gadget performer as a rookie, hauling in 28 passes for 211 yards. He has not caught a pass since. The Dolphins dangled Bowden in trades last year before ultimately cutting him. The Patriots picked up the Kentucky alum and stashed him on their practice squad. The Pats waived Bowden in May. Like Coutee, Bowden has a return background — just not in the NFL. He saw punt-return action at Kentucky in each of his three seasons.
A three-year veteran, Durant played in one game for the Saints last season. The 6-foot-7 tackle out of Missouri has two career starts on his resume. A rookie out of Texas Tech, Thompson was part of New Orleans’ UDFA contingent last month. Flowers set the Division I-FCS record for kick-return touchdowns, with seven, and sits behind only Shaheed in Big Sky Conference history in return average.
The Saints have announced an 11-man UDFA class after drafting seven players over the course of the last three days. Here are the undrafted talents who will begin their pursuit of an NFL job with New Orleans:
Two of the above players, Davis and Orji, received guarantees in excess of $200K, as Greg Auman of FOX Sports tweets.
Davis has the size (6-5, 217 lbs.) and length that could allow him to find success in the pros, and he showed off serious big-play ability at the collegiate level, averaging roughly 20.4 yards per catch over four years at South Carolina State. That included 45 catches for 934 yards and 11 TDs in 2022.
That production, however, came against FCS competition. While the size of Davis’ guarantee indicates he was a priority signing, there are elements of his game — like his issue with drops — that he will need to clean up in order to have a shot at cracking the roster.
Orji, meanwhile, was a three-year starter for the SEC’s Commodores, as well as a team captain. Despite averaging nearly 100 total tackles and 10 tackles for loss over the past two seasons, he also missed a lot of tackles and does not have the speed that would make him an elite defender in today’s NFL. Still, there was a chance that he would hear his name called on Day 3 of the draft, and he should have a decent chance of sticking as a backup defender or special teamer.