The Saints released second-year defensive lineman Tavaris Barnes, a source told The Advocate on Monday.
Barnes was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Clemson after last year’s draft. And in something of a surprise, he made the team coming out of training camp. Used mostly as a backup at the 5-technique defensive-end position, Barnes played in 13 games and made five tackles.
Barnes was part of a successful class of undrafted defensive linemen. All four — Barnes, defensive end Bobby Richardson, defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls and nose tackle Ashaad Mabry — stayed with the Saints throughout the season. And Barnes, Richardson and Eulls were members of the active roster. Richardson started 11 games.
New Orleans is expected to be interested in adding defensive linemen during this week’s draft.
Only one remains
The Saints also waived former fifth-round pick Vinnie Sunseri on Monday.
Sunseri, who was one of two remaining members of the 2014 draft class along with wide receiver Brandin Cooks, has been through a star-crossed two seasons in New Orleans.
Forced into action by a rash of injuries at safety as a rookie, Sunseri made five tackles in nine games in 2014, then saw his season cut short when he fractured his arm against the San Francisco 49ers in November.
Sunseri recovered and competed for a roster spot in training camp in 2015, then suffered a season-ending knee injury in a preseason game against Houston last year and was placed on injured reserve for the second season in a row.
New Orleans is expected to add a safety in this week’s draft to help replace Rafael Bush, who signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency.
The Saints are allowed to bring in 30 prospects for official pre-draft visits at team headquarters, and five more became known over the weekend.
Washington linebacker Travis Feeney, Nebraska offensive tackle Alex Lewis and Vanderbilt edge rusher Stephen Weatherly visited the Saints in recent weeks, multiple league sources have confirmed to The Advocate. In addition, the Detroit News reported that Western Michigan wide receiver Daniel Braverman visited the Saints, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Auburn guard Avery Young is one of the players who visited New Orleans.
The five showcase the wide range of positions the Saints covet in this week’s draft. Lewis and Young are collegiate tackles who project to play guard in the NFL. Braverman would be a slot receiver, Feeney would line up as a weak-side linebacker, and Weatherly would likely play defensive end in the Saints’ 4-3 scheme.