Second-year Saints defensive lineman Rufus Johnson Jr. has been informed he will be waived Tuesday, a league source has told The Advocate.
New Orleans chose the 6-foot-5, 272-pound Johnson in the sixth round of the 2013 draft out of Tarleton State, where he racked up 15.5 quarterback sacks and second-team Division II All-America honors as a hands-in-the-dirt defensive end. The Saints asked him to switch to the outside linebacker position at his first training camp, and he subsequently spent his rookie year on New Orleans’ practice squad.
The Saints put Johnson back on the defensive line starting with workouts this offseason and throughout training camp. He was in for 26 snaps of defense in an exhibition win at St. Louis on Aug. 8 and for just five in the victory at Indianapolis on Saturday.
He didn’t play defense at home in a win against Tennessee on Aug. 15, lining up only on special teams for three snaps.
Johnson finished with one solo tackle this preseason.
The Saints have been making cuts ahead of a 3 p.m. Tuesday deadline to get their roster down to 75 players. They announced three cuts Monday after practice: wide receiver Andy Tanner, tackle Ty Nsekhke and safety Ty Zimmerman, who were all hurt.
Then, Saints tight end Travis Beckum tweeted he had been released, and league sources told The Advocate that New Orleans would waive guard/tackle Manase Foketi and defensive end George Uko.
WWL Radio’s Kristian Garic on Monday also reported the Saints planned to release LB Victor Butler, who missed all of 2013 with a preseason knee injury and had been sidelined for much training camp hurt.
The Saints cut four other players last week: running back Timothy Flanders, tight end Je’Ron Hamm, outside linebacker Chidea Uzo-Diribe and wide receiver Tobais Palmer. Counting Butler’s release, that would all bring the Saints’ roster down to 78 players.