New Orleans has signed a handful of players who worked out at this week’s rookie minicamp, including wide receiver Josh Morgan, according to multiple sources.
The team has signed kicker Zach Hocker, wide receiver Kyle Prater and offensive lineman Antonio Johnson and released linebacker Stephon Sanders, according to sources. The University of Virginia official football Twitter reported that New Orleans also signed linebacker Frank Coley.
The rest of the corresponding moves to open roster spots are not known.
Speaking after Saturday’s practice, coach Sean Payton noted it is not uncommon to sign players who try out at minicamp.
“Well it gives us an idea as to their skillset, again we have all the film work done but how do they actually look specifically to our team,” Payton said. “You get to know the player for a little bit. One of the things I said to the start of this minicamp was that we’ve had players that have made this roster.”
Morgan, a seven-year veteran who has played for the 49ers, Redskins and Bears, has caught more than 40 passes three times in his career and adds a veteran presence to a receiving corps that remains young and unproven behind Marques Colston.
A possession receiver who checks in at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Morgan has caught more than 40 passes three times in his career, the last time in a 2012 season when he posted 48 catches for 510 yards and two scores for the Redskins.
During that season, Washington used Morgan largely as a target over the middle, isolating him on drags, hitches and slants, as well as getting him the ball several times on quick-hitting screens to the perimeter.
The past two seasons, though, Morgan’s production has declined. He pulled in 20 catches for the Redskins in 2013 and added 10 grabs for 70 yards in 2014 with the Bears.
Hocker, who was most recently with the Miami Dolphins, tried out for the Saints in December when the team was looking for other options at kicker.
Hocker was a seventh-round draft selection out of Arkansas last year for the Washington Redskins. He lasted all of training camp with Washington but was beat out by the incumbent Kai Forbath at the end of the preseason.
New Orleans now has three kickers on the roster, including Shayne Graham and Dustin Hopkins.
Johnson, who played at North Texas, was invited to try out at rookie minicamp this week. He played alongside offensive lineman Cyril Lemon, who signed as an undrafted free agent, in college.
The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Johnson previously tried out for the Jets.
Prater (6-foot-5, 225 pounds), from Northwestern, caught 51 passes for 535 yards with two touchdowns last season.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Coley recorded 76 tackles, 12.5 for a loss, and eight sacks last season. He also was credited with six passes broken up.
Sanders hooked on with the Saints as an undrafted free agent last month. He played at SMU, where he recorded 70 tackles, 21/2 sacks and four passes defensed.