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New Orleans Saints Sign Futures Contracts

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Fresh Faces Looking to Make Their Mark Doug Miller, NewOrleansSaints.com Feb 15, 2007 – 4:00 pm The New Orleans Saints have been active in adding players to their roster since the beginning of the calendar year. Each NFL teams may ...

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Old 02-15-2007, 10:48 PM   #1
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New Orleans Saints Sign Futures Contracts

Fresh Faces Looking to Make Their Mark
Doug Miller, NewOrleansSaints.com
Feb 15, 2007 – 4:00 pm

The New Orleans Saints have been active in adding players to their roster since the beginning of the calendar year. Each NFL teams may begin signing players to futures contracts, or contracts which become active upon the conclusion of a season. The majority of these players are players that spent time with other NFL teams during training camp and perhaps on some practice squads during the previous season.

Some of the players signed at this time of year may have had various injuries that limited their availability during training camps, while still others may have been locked in competition for playing time behind a particularly deep pool of talent in front of them. Other players may be seeking an opportunity to land on a roster and then sharpen their skills by playing in NFL Europa.

While the numbers may suggest that the route to a full-time job in the NFL is better served through unrestricted free agency and the draft, numerous NFL players have utilized the "future" contract option as a way to get a foothold in the league. In fact, former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith, was signed by the Jaguars to a futures contract, and subsequently went on to play 10 years in the league and finished his career seventh in NFL history with 862 catches and 11th in league history with 12,287 yards and made the Pro Bowl fives times over the course of his career.

Last season, Atlanta signed guard Tyson Clabo to a futures contract and the Wake Forest product made the most of his opportunity, going on to start 10 games for the Falcons in 2006. In 2006 the Saints signed a few players to future contracts that spent the season with the team, WR Jammal Jones, who played in 14 games, including one start, and had six receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown, six kickoff returns for 130 yards (21.7 avg.) and nine special teams tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. FB Keith Joseph and T Chad Setterstrom spent the season on the team's injured reserve list after showing impressive signs during training camp and the preseason.

The Saints' pro scouting department, spearheaded by Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Mueller carefully monitors the waiver wire and keeps track of all of the transactions in all of the professional football leagues, including the Arena Football League, afl2, the Canadian Football League and NFL Europa, all done in an effort to increase the Saints' overall depth and competitiveness. While players such as Smith may be the exception to the rule in terms of longevity and production, NFL rosters are littered with players who took advantage of being able to sign quickly and get into a team's off-season strength and conditioning programs and have the extra months to get acclimated with a team's offensive or defensive schemes.

Since the beginning of the new calendar year, the Saints have added the following players to their roster: FB Kevin Dudley, S Chris Reis, G Dave Yovanovits, G Wes Sims, WR Lance Moore, LB Cornelius Wortham, LB E.J. Kuale, T Ben Archibald, DT Brandon Villareal, DT McKinley Boykin, DE Willie Evans, CB Anwar Phillips, QB Jason Fife, K Kurt Smith, WR Dante Ridgeway and TE Robert Johnson .

Of the aforementioned players, Evans, Boykin, Reis, Wortham and Smith have been allocated to NFL Europa and will report to the spring league's training camps, which will be held in Tampa beginning later this month.

Below is a brief look at each player:

Nice to see some of the names on list. others I have to do some reading on.
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Old 02-16-2007, 08:05 AM   #2
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RE: New Orleans Saints Sign Futures Contracts

E.J. Kuale, Anwar Phillips, Jason Fife, and Ben Archibald all have a chance to make this team. Archibald is a Payton player smart, humble, and works in the community. I like the size of Phillips if he has the speed to keep up with elite recievers he could be great. Fife has the size and arm strength that coaches salivate for. We'll see what happens.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:46 AM   #3
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RE: New Orleans Saints Sign Futures Contracts

rest of the story
FB Kevin Dudley : The 6-2, 238 product of the University of Michigan originally broke into the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent when he signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2005. He spent the majority of the 2005 season on the Falcons' practice squad, although he did appear in one regular season contest, before resigning with them at the conclusion of the season. He went to training camp with the Falcons in 2006 and spent time on their practice squad before being signed by the Saints to their practice squad late in the season.

Dudley is an unheralded athlete who relished his role as the team's primary blocker for a very successful ground game while playing for the Wolverines, and his timely blocks cleared huge rush lanes for a team that featured four 1,000-yard rushers during his four seasons at the school. He started 20 of 37 games in his career at Michigan and gained 13 yards on three carries and 61 yards on eight receptions (7.6 avg.) while also recording seven tackles (five solos) on special teams.

The native of Brookville, Indiana was a two-team all-state selection in high school and was named the Eastern Indiana Conference Defensive MVP as a senior, garnering a ranking as the 46th top prospect in the entire Midwest region by SuperPrep magazine.

Chris Reis
Atlanta Falcons
S Chris Reis : A 6-1, 215-pound product of Georgia Tech also has roots with the Atlanta Falcons, having originally signed with them as a rookie free agent on May 1, 2006. The former three-time ACC All-Academic honoree finished as Tech's second-leading tackler as a senior in 2005, with 84 stops, including 6.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and two pass breakups. He earned honorable mention as a junior when he started all 12 games and finished fifth in the ACC and 21st in the nation with eight sacks, and piled up 70 tackles and a team-high six passes defensed.

Reis was a three-time team MVP at Roswell (GA) High School and a team captain who started a school-record 44 consecutive varsity games. He recorded totals of 226 tackles and 10 interceptions on defense, and 183 receptions for 2,595 yards in his career, also adding 342 rushing yards and 823 return yards. He was named to the "Georgia 60" by SuperPrep, a PrepStar All-America and rated the No. 22 safety prospect in the nation by Student Sports Magazine.

Dave Yovanovits
Cleveland Browns
G Dave Yovanovits : A 6-3, 300-pound native of Hopatcong, New Jersey, Yovanovits played his college football at Temple before being selected in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, where he was coached by current Saints' offensive coordinator/line coach Doug Marrone. He spent his rookie season (2003) on the Jets' 53-man roster, and the first half of the 2004 season on the active roster before being waived and resigned to the practice squad. He was waived by the Jets during training camp in 2005 and was claimed off of waiver by the Cleveland Browns, where he spent the remainder of the season. Despite the fact that he was on active rosters for nearly three seasons in the NFL (six career games played, one start), he was still eligible for practice squad and subsequently signed by the Detroit Lions on December 20, 2006. He then elected to sign with the Saints at the conclusion of the season.

Yovanovits displayed his versatility as a collegian, playing every snap in 40 of the 45 games he played in while with Temple. He played virtually every offensive line position throughout his college career before being projected as a guard at the pro level.

Lance Moore
Michael C. Hebert
Lance Moore: Moore played in four games with the Saints early in the 2006 season, catching one pass for 10 yards and appearing on various special teams coverage units. The 5-9, 177-pound product of the University of Toledo broke into the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 2005. He served several stints on the Saints' practice squad in 2005 before being promoted to the active roster late in the 2005 season, where he appeared in four games. He was allocated by the Saints to NFL Europa in the spring of 2006 and played for the Berlin Thunder.

Moore was a record-setting receiver at Toledo, amassing 4,146 all-purpose yards and 222 receptions for 2,776 yards and 25 TDs in 50 career games. He set school records in all three major receiving categories (receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns), and earned first team all-MAC honors as both a junior and senior. Moore graduated from Westerville South High School in Ohio.

Cornelius Wortham
Seattle Seahawks
LB Cornelius Wortham: A 6-1, 236-poud graduate of the University of Alabama, Wortham was an All-Conference selection who led the Crimson Tide in tackles as a senior, posting 86 tackles and three sacks. He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round of the 2005 draft. He was then signed by the Seahawks midway through his rookie season off of the practice squad and appeared in regular eight games, seeing all of this action on special teams. He also played in the NFL Championship game and in Super Bowl XL. He was waived at the end of training camp in 2006.

The native of Calhoun City, Mississippi, Wortham had 115 tackles, six sacks, 24 stops behind the line and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown as a senior in high school. On offense, he had 525 yards and eight TDs rushing. He was a first-team all-state pick. Cornelius was a Dandy Dozen pick by the Jackson Clarion Ledger. He was an Atlanta Journal Southern 100 selection.

McKinley Boykin
Michael C. Hebert
DT McKinley Boykin: Boykin was originally signed by Saints as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Saints on May 12, 2006. He was placed on the Saints' exempt/left squad list on August 3, 2006, but the Saints brass clearly felt that there was something there for him to earn a return opportunity.

The native of Bessemer, Alabama was a four-year letterman for the Ole Miss Rebels and recorded 40 tackles as a senior and was named first team preseason All-SEC in his final season after earning second team All-SEC honors as a junior. He played in the 2006 Hula Bowl. Boykin was a two-time All-State selection on the defensive line at McAdory (McCalla, Ala.) HS.

Willie Evans
New York Giants
DE Willie Evans: A 6-1, 270-pound defensive end out of Mississippi State, Evans was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent last May. As a senior, Evans was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Awards, annually awarded to the nation's top defensive end.

Evans started 35 of 46 career games at MSU and recorded 219 tackles (139 solo) and finished third in school history with 24.5 sacks for minus 145 yards. As a junior he was named second-team, all-Southeastern Conference by the Associated Press after he started all 11 games during a breakthrough junior season in which he became a dominant player on the Bulldog defensive line. He was second on the club and led all defensive linemen with 67 tackles and registered a team-best 14.5 tackles for loss (minus 53 yards), a squad-leading five and a half of which were quarterback sacks (minus 25 yards).

Evans, a native of Waynesboro, Mississippi graduated from Wayne County High School before matriculating to MSU, where he majored in business administration.

Anwar Phillips
Michael C. Hebert
CB Anwar Phillips: Phillips, a product of Penn State, originally signed with the Saints on May 10, 2006 as a rookie free agent and spent the majority of the season on the team's practice squad. As a senior for the Nittany Lions, the 6-0, 190-pound Phillips earned all All-Big 10 recognition as a senior. He was a two-year starter at cornerback during his days in the Big 10 and the former standout wide receiver started 27-of-46 games at defensive back after moving into the secondary. As a collegian he notched 104 tackles (68 solo) with 27 pass deflections and seven interceptions.

Phillips, a native of St. Petersburg, FL, earned his undergraduate degree in labor and industrial relations in December 2005.

Jason Fife
Michael C. Hebert
QB Jason Fife: Few players in the NFL have shown the persistence and patience that Fife has shown. The 6-4, 226-pound University of Oregon product was a fixture on the Saints' practice squad in 2006 and often was promoted to the active roster in certain situations as the team fluctuated between carrying two and three quarterbacks all season long. Regardless, it was usually Fife who quarterbacked the scout team offense throughout the week, and in the process, used the opportunity to learn and glean knowledge from Drew Brees and Jamie Martin.

Fife has played in the Arena League and in NFL Europa during his young career after completing 260 of 496 passes (52.4 percent) for 3,702 yards, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, adding 289 yards and eight scores on 121 carries (2.4 avg.) during his career with the Oregon Ducks.

Dante Ridgeway
New York Jets
WR Dante Ridgeway: Ridgeway, also a member of the Saints' practice squad in the second half of the 2006 season, broke into the NFL as a sixth round draft choice of the St. Louis Rams in 2005. He was waived by the Rams at the conclusion of the 2005 training camp, was claimed by the Cincinnati Bengals a day later, then waived and claimed by the New York Jets, where he spent the 2005 season. He went to camp with the Jets and was on the roster for the early portion of the season before being signed by the Saints and added to their practice squad later in the season.

Ridgeway, the first player in Ball State history to declare himself eligible for the draft as a junior, and earned the distinction of being one a leader amongst all time NCAA Division I-A players in career receiving yards per game (86.6) plus is second in career catches per game (6.9), fourth in career catches (238), sixth in career receiving yards (3,030) and tied for ninth in career touchdowns (22).

Robert Johnson
Washington Redskins
TE Robert Johnson: Johnson, a hulking 6-6, 278-pounds, spent the last quarter of the season on the Saints' practice squad after the team suffered a spat of injuries at the position. Johnson, who played collegiately at Auburn, broke into the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2003. He left the Bears to join the Washington Redskins, but suffered a sprained ankle early in the preseason that hampered his opportunity to make the Redskins' club.

Johnson, who is from Montgomery, Alabama (Jefferson Davis High School), is a player who declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season. While playing for the Tigers, the big tight end recorded 59 catches, including 30 in his last season on the collegiate level. On the high school level, he was one of the most highly recruited players at his position and earned All-American honors and was ranked as a top 50 recruit by Superprep Magazine.

Wes Sims
San Diego Chargers
G Wes Sims: Sims, a 6-4, 317-pound guard, was a sixth-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers in 2005 and spent his rookie season on the Bolts' active roster, appearing in one game. He went to camp with San Diego in 2006 and was waived at the end of camp, only to hook on with the Carolina Panthers. He spent time on the Carolina Panthers' roster and practice squad the remainder of the season before electing to join the Saints.

Sims attended Weatherford High School in Oklahoma and was a letterman and a standout in football and track and field. In football, he was a USA Today All-USA selection, and helped lead his team to the Class 4A state title as a senior. In track and field, he set the state records in the shot put (65 feet), and the discus (185 feet). He then went onto earn All-Big 12 honors for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2004, his senior season. He played one of the most physically demanding positions on the college level, seeing all of his action as the Sooners' starting left tackle from his sophomore season through his senior campaign.

Kurt Smith
San Diego Chargers
K Kurt Smith: Smith, a kicker from the University of Virginia, was drafted in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers with the 188th selection overall. The kickoff specialist made his mark at Virginia on kickoffs. He kicked field goals and kicked off his first season at Virginia, but in his last three years there, he only was their kickoff man. He has a tremendously strong leg which allowed him to consistently put over 70-percent of his kickoffs into the end zone which led to him having 56-percent of his kickoffs being touchbacks. He consistently showed the ability to put the ball deep into the end zone in any weather and in the most important situations.

Smith attended Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee and won varsity letters in football as a kicker and punter and in soccer.

E.J. Kuale
Michael C. Hebert
LB E.J. Kuale: Kuale signed a rookie free agent with the Saints last May after spending his final two seasons at LSU, where he was a part-time starter for the Bayou Bengals. Kuale, 6-2, 232-pound, displayed athleticism during training camp with the Saints throughout training camp and during the season on the team's practice squad. Kuale is blessed with speed and versatility and showed the ability to both come off the corner on blitzes and drop into coverage in his time with the Black and Gold.

Kuale transferred to LSU after a year at Dodge City Community College after he originally enrolled at Georgia Tech. The native of Daytona Beach, Florida was an all-state performer at the largest school level as a senior at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach.

Ben Archibald
Michael C. Hebert
T Ben Archibald: Ben Archibald, a hulking 603, 320-pound product of BYU played in six games with the Saints in 2005 and spent the 2006 season on the team's injured reserve list. Archibald, who hails from Orem, Utah, broke into the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2003. He then spent time on the Saints' practice squad during separate stints in 2004 before being allocated to NFL Europa in the spring of 2005.

Brandon Villarreal
Michael C. Hebert
Archibald, who earned a 3.9 grade point average while at BYU, graduated with a degree in health management and has taken part in continuing education courses at the esteemed Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

DT Brandon Villarreal: Villarreal originally signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue following last season's draft and spent the entire season on the practice squad. The 6-2, 289-pound native of Allen, Texas appeared in 48 games, making 23 starts with the Boilermakers, and had 160 tackles and 11.5 sacks.
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