Most significant move: The New Orleans Saints gave up on their 2014 second-round draft pick, cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste. He was always described as a raw, developmental player, which is why he barely played last year. But the development didn’t come this year – and his struggles in the preseason finale likely sealed his fate. The Saints now have just one player left on their active roster from their 2014 draft class – receiver Brandin Cooks – with fifth-round picks Ronald Powell and Vinnie Sunseri on injured reserve.
Most significant non-move: The Saints did not place safety Jairus Byrd on the reserve-physically unable to perform list. It’s still unclear when they expect him to return from a lingering knee injury, but it’s a good sign that they expect him to be back in less than the six weeks required for PUP players. Injured veterans Keenan Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe also made the 53-man roster, though the team can’t use the short-term injured reserve designation until Sunday afternoon, if it plans to do so.
Youth is served: The Saints kept 12 rookies – including all eight of their healthy draft picks and four undrafted defensive linemen (Tavaris Barnes, Kaleb Eulls, Ashaad Mabry and Bobby Richardson). They released veteran defensive end/outside linebacker Parys Haralson.
Hocker at kicker: The Saints went with young, unproven kicker Zach Hocker over young, unproven kicker Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins seemed to have the early edge in practice, but Hocker proved to be more consistent in preseason games. It will be interesting to see if the Saints kick the tires on any experienced veterans cut around the NFL this weekend.
What’s next: This roster probably isn’t final yet, considering the Saints are light at receiver (4) and tight end (2) and heavy at running back (5) and defensive line (9). Stay tuned for possible waiver-wire additions or the use of that short-term IR list as possible tweaks in the next few days.
Saints moves: Released K Dustin Hopkins, QB Ryan Griffin, WR Joseph Morgan, WR Josh Morgan, WR Seantavius Jones, RB Edwin Baker, FB Toben Opurum, TE Orson Charles, TE Alex Smith, TE Chris Manhertz, OT Bryce Harris, OT Nick Becton, OL Mike Golic Jr., OL Sean Hickey, OL Cyril Lemon, DE/OLB Parys Haralson, LB Justin Anderson, LB Henry Coley, LB Jerry Franklin, S Pierre Warren, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB Sammy Seamster.