New Orleans Saints cut 13, including putting Anthony Spencer on IR

With Anthony Spencer on injured reserve, the Saints will need some young players to step up behind Cameron Jordan. Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

Most significant move: Placing veteran defensive end Anthony Spencer on injured reserve isn’t a crushing blow for the New Orleans Saints. He was never a sure thing to make the roster to start with. But it definitely means they’ll be counting on some young, unproven guys to play key roles behind top pass rusher Cameron Jordan -- and this for a pass rush that was already a big question mark even before the Saints released Junior Galette in July.

Second-round draft pick Hau'oli Kikaha is the front runner for New Orleans’ starting strong-side linebacker job, with second-year pro Kasim Edebali likely to rotate into the mix. Kikaha has brought an impressive amount of pressure and energy during the past two preseason games. But he still faces a learning curve, especially when he’s asked to drop in coverage.

Injuries rule the day: Injuries also played a role in the Saints trimming four recent draft picks from their current roster. They placed rookie cornerback P.J. Williams -- a third-round pick from Florida State -- on injured reserve. And they waived-injured WR Nick Toon (fourth round, 2012), linebacker Ronald Powell (fifth round, 2014) and safety Vinnie Sunseri (fifth round, 2014). All three could revert back to the Saints’ injured reserve list if they pass through waivers.

What’s next: The Saints will play their final preseason game at the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night before making their final cut down to 53 players on Saturday. Two of the biggest battles that remain undecided are at kicker (Dustin Hopkins vs. Zach Hocker) and receiver, where Brandon Coleman, Willie Snead, Josh Morgan and Joseph Morgan are jockeying for backup roles.

Saints’ moves: Added DB Sammy Seamster via waivers. Traded WR/KR Jalen Saunders to New England Patriots for conditional seventh-round draft choice. Placed DE Anthony Spencer, CB P.J. Williams on injured reserve. Waived-injured WR Nick Toon, LB Ronald Powell, S Vinnie Sunseri. Released WR R.J. Harris, WR Lance Lewis, FB Erik Lorig, OL Antonio Johnson, G Cole Manhart, LB Chris Young, DE Markus Pierce-Brewster, DT David Hunter, CB Terrence Frederick, CB Travis Manning.