Saints sign former Tulane player Strozier as RB; final unsigned draft pick agrees to terms _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Saints coach Sean Payton watches the action during rookie camp Saturday, May 17, 2014 at the Saints practice facility.

After playing cornerback at Tulane in 2013, Derrick Strozier took a chance when he asked the Saints to give him a tryout at running back during the team’s three-day rookie minicamp that ended Sunday.

On Monday, the gamble paid off when the Saints signed Strozier, who had limited touches in his last season as a running back in 2012, and three other players who attended the minicamp on a tryout basis.

The Saints announced later Monday they agreed to a four-year contract with inside linebacker Khairi Fortt, their fourth-round pick in the draft earlier this month. The Saints have now agreed with or signed each of the six selections they made in the draft earlier this month — including first-round pick Brandin Cooks, who signed Sunday at the conclusion of their rookie minicamp.

The 5-foot-8, 181-pound Strozier had just four carries for 12 yards and caught 11 passes for 60 yards in 2012, but had much more success as a nickel cornerback. As a senior, Strozier had 54 tackles and three interceptions and broke up 14 passes. He had five interceptions and defended 19 passes in his four-year career while switching between offense and defense.

But because of his size, he figured he had a better opportunity to get into an NFL training camp as an offensive player.

A native of Edgewater, Florida, Strozier also returned punts and kickoffs while playing the last two seasons for former Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson.

The Saints also signed wide receiver Steve Hull (Illinois), outside linebacker Cheta Ozougwu (Rice) and offensive lineman Thomas Welch (Vanderbilt). Ozougwu and Welch both have NFL experience.

Ozougwu, a seventh-round draft pick by the Houston Texans in 2011, has played in nine games the past two seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Welch, who was selected in the seventh round in 2010 by the New England Patriots, has played in 27 games with the Patriots, St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills.

Hull was an undrafted free agent.

The Saints also waived guard Micajah Reynolds and nose tackle Brandon McCray, who played his college football at UL-Lafayette. They were among a group of 17 college free agents signed by the Saints after the conclusion of the May 8-10 draft.

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