Former Rutgers receiver Brandon Coleman is one of 36 underclassmen to declare for the 2014 NFL draft, then spend last weekend waiting and waiting.
Coleman eventually signed with the Saints as an undrafted rookie free agent, choosing the franchise over Miami, New England, San Diego and St. Louis. He said Saturday that he felt good about his chances because of its success in retaining and developing those types of players under coach Sean Payton.
With the move, Coleman adds his name to a crowded bunch at receiver. Lance Moore was released early in the offseason. Veterans Marques Colston and Robert Meachem are still here, as are younger players Kenny Stills, Nick Toon and Joe Morgan, who is coming off a season-ending ACL injury.
“He’s a big target,” Payton said of Coleman. “He’s been very productive, and there are just some little things that we are working on with him just in regards with his transition, but he has picked things up well. He seems to be moving around well, and the other thing is, you want to be able to find out or educate yourself on what weight we think these players should be at.”
Coleman, who is listed at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, was projected as a mid-draft prospect, as early as the third round. But a recent report suggested that a knee injury before the 2013 season affected his draft status.
Working their way back?
Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and fullback Jacob Hester are spending this weekend with the Saints, hoping to revive their professional careers during a three-day tryout.
Their chances of earning a permanent home with the Saints are slim. This offseason, the Saints signed former Tampa Bay fullback Erik Lorig to a four-year deal and, at quarterback, Drew Brees is cemented as the starter with the team pleased with the development of backup Ryan Griffin, who is entering his second season.
Still, practice sessions with the Saints give both players an opportunity to earn opportunities with other teams.
“When you have a camp like this, it is important to have enough arms,” Payton said of Jefferson. “He’s athletic, he’s big, he’s picked things up well and, just like the other two guys, he is quickly trying to get as familiar with the offense as possible. He’s handled it fairly quickly, and it is still a work in progress.”
Since LSU, Jefferson’s career has taken him from Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent to last season with the Arena Football League. Hester played for San Diego (2008-2011) and Denver (2012).
Fourth-round pick Khairi Fortt is good with change. Good for him.
Fortt played for five head coaches during his college career. He signed with Penn State out of high school, playing under Joe Paterno (2010), interim coach Tom Bradley (2011) and Bill Blankenship (spring 2012).
After the Jerry Sandusky scandal, he transferred to California, where he worked under Jeff Tedford (2012) and Sonny Dykes (2013).
“I think it’s made me more versatile,” Fortt said. “I’ve gotten to see how to work under different coaches and when you get to this level you know before your career is over you play for several more.”
Fortt’s addition to the Saints locker room is expected to be a pleasant one for defensive end Cameron Jordan, who rarely misses an opportunity to publicize his college home.
“I had looked at Cal when I was in high school, and I knew it was a great academic institution,” Fortt said. “There was the chance there, so I took it. I know some of us who transferred were criticized for leaving, but only the ones of us who were there know what was really going on.”
Advocate sportswriter Ted Lewis contributed to this report.