saints to sign 13 free agents
Saints to sign 13 free agents
Eugene, Kuale among those reaching deals
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
By Mike Triplett
Grambling State quarterback Bruce Eugene, LSU linebacker E.J. Kuale and Texas guard Will Allen, a third-team All-American, highlight a group of 13 undrafted free agents who have agreed to terms with the Saints.
Kuale, 6 feet 2, 232 pounds, is a small but fast outside linebacker who never fulfilled his potential with the Tigers, mostly because of a broken ankle that limited him to six games last year.
He is a long shot to make an NFL roster, but the Saints have more needs at linebacker than anywhere else. They also agreed to terms with Purdue linebacker Bobby Iwuchukwu (6-2, 246) and East Carolina linebacker Chris Moore (6-1, 235).
Iwuchukwu might make an impact on special teams. He holds the Purdue record with six blocked kicks.
The Saints addressed another thin position by agreeing to terms with three Big Ten cornerbacks -- Penn State's Anwar Phillips (6-0, 187), Michigan's Grant Mason (6-0, 192) and Purdue's Ray Williams (6-1, 205).
Phillips had been rated by most as a third- or fourth-round prospect heading into the NFL draft. He has good speed, height and long arms, but his toughness and tackling ability were questioned.
Allen (6-4, 306) is the most accomplished player among the Saints' free-agent group and might have the best potential to earn a job. He started 41 games for the national-champion Longhorns and is an intelligent player who projects as a possible backup center.
Eugene (6-0, 268) set a Division I-AA record with 140 career touchdown passes and ranks second with 13,530 career passing yards. The Saints were excited about bringing in Eugene, who played at Cohen High School, but he also is a long shot to make the team as one of five quarterbacks on the roster.
The Saints added two of the top special-teams prospects. Illinois punter Steve Weatherford was ranked the No. 1 prospect by Sporting News, in part because of his versatility as a punter, field-goal kicker and kickoff man. Virginia kicker Connor Hughes was chosen first-team All-ACC in 2005 and never missed a kick inside 30 yards in college.
The Saints also added Washington State tight end Troy Bienemann (6-4, 258), Mississippi State defensive tackle McKinley Boykin (6-1, 289) and North Carolina defensive end Tommy Davis (6-2, 257).
Boykin, a highly rated prospect, played under current Saints defensive line coach Marion Hobby in college.
TRAINING CAMP MOVE? The Saints have not yet decided where to hold training camp this summer.
After staying home in Metairie the past three seasons, the Saints are considering a return to the traditional format of moving the team to an out-of-town location. They likely would stay in the state or region, with Jackson, Miss., a possible consideration.
. . . . . . .
Is it just enthusiasm or do the free agent signee list look a lot better than in previous years?
G Will Allen (6-4, 306) started 41 games at the University of Texas and was a third-team All-American in 2005.-----------could win a spot
* TE Troy Bienemann (6-4, 258) was a four-year starter at Washington State. As a senior in 2005, he had 24 receptions for 278 yards and three touchdowns.
* DT McKinley Boykin (6-1, 289) started for the last two seasons at the University of Mississippi. Prior to 2005, Boykin was tutored by current Saints defensive line coach -- and former Mississippi assistant -- Marion Hobby. Boykin had 40 tackles and three sacks as a senior.
* DE Tommy Davis (6-2, 257) started the last three years at North Carolina. He holds the school record with a 460-pound bench press. Davis had 40 tackles and eight sacks as a senior.
* QB Bruce Eugene (6-0, 268) played in 45 games at Grambling with 39 starts and holds most of the school's passing marks. His 140 TD passes set an NCAA Division I-AA record and his 13,530 yards rank second in Division I-AA history.-----------another good project
* K Connor Hughes (5-10, 172) from Virginia was All-ACC as a senior and holds school records for points (332), field goals made (66) and attempted (79), and extra points made (134).---------highest rated kicker on some boards!
* LB Bobby Iwuchukwu (6-2, 246) was a two-year starter at strongside linebacker at Purdue. Special teams ace holds school record for blocked kicks.--------------this guy should have been drafted
* LB E.J. Kuale (6-2, 232) appeared in 18 games with three starts at LSU from 2004-05. He closed his collegiate career with 36 tackles and four sacks.----------------under the radar cuz of injuries
* CB Grant Mason (6-0, 192) was a two-year letterman at Michigan after spending his first two seasons at Stanford. He appeared in 24 games for the Wolverines with 13 starts, notching 105 career tackles, and three interceptions.
* LB Chris Moore (6-1, 235) from East Carolina became fourth player in school history to record over 400 tackles (415) and had 10 or more stops in 22 of his 42 career games.
* CB Anwar Phillips (6-0, 187) was a two-year starter at Penn State. In his four-year career he had 104 tackles and seven interceptions. Phillips was a 2005 All-Big 10 selection.-----------------was high as 4th rd on some boards, 2nd rd projection on nfl.com
* P Steve Weatherford (6-3, 215) handled the punting duties at Illinois. He averaged 42.6 yards on 67 punts in 2005.
* CB Ray Williams (6-1, 205) started five games at cornerback for Purdue in 2005. Williams opened his career with the Boilermakers as a wide receiver and played the position for three and a half seasons. A spate of injuries in the secondary forced Williams to switch to the defense. On offense, he had 38 catches for 502 yards and three TDs.
some good digging here guys
Good group... I like corners with size. That Allen guy if anything could make our practice squad which is a plus. I hope Hughes can beat out Carney and I like Weatherford's numbers... too bad we have Berger.
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