The New Orleans Saints on Sunday announced six of the eight members of their practice squad with Ryan Griffin, a rookie quarterback from Tulane, being the most notable player on the list.
The others: wide receiver Saalim Hakim, tight end Michael Higgins, fullback Austin Johnson, offensive tackle Marcel Jones and defensive back Jumal Rolle. All six were among the 21 players the team let go Saturday.
Griffin excelled at Tulane for four seasons and then joined the Saints following the 2013 NFL Draft as a free agent. Griffin was a four-year letterman and starter who played in 42 games with 39 starts, completed 836-of-1396 passes (59.9 percent) for 9,026 yards, 79 touchdowns and 35 interceptions while scoring one rushing touchdown during his career. Griffin set Tulane career records in pass attempts, completions, completion percentage while finishing second in passing yards, passing yards per game (214.9), pass attempts per game (33.2), completions per game (19.8) and 300-yard passing games (10), fourth in touchdown passes, fifth in touchdown passes per game (1.3), sixth in passing efficiency (122.4), eighth in lowest interception percentage (4.19) and 10th in yards per pass attempt (6.5). In extensive action in the 2013 preseason for the Saints, he completed 32-of-59 passes for 380 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Hakim first joined the Saints practice squad in December 2012, spending the final two games on the club’s active roster. In the 2013 preseason, he had two receptions for 61 yards, including a 53-yard grab in the club’s preseason finale on Thursday, at Miami. Following one season at Tarleton State in 2010, Hakim, the younger brother of former Saints wideout Az-Zahir Hakim, spent the 2011 season with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL, went to training camp with the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 and also spent part of the campaign on the practice squad of the St. Louis Rams before joining the Saints.
Higgins first signed with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska-Omaha in 2011. In 2011 and 2012, he appeared in four games for the Saints with one start, recording two receptions for one yard. He spent the bulk of both seasons on the Saints practice squad. In the 2013 preseason, Higgins had three receptions for 15 yards.
Johnson, who played both linebacker and fullback at Tennessee, went to training camp with the Saints and had two carries for one yard, four receptions for 23 yards with one touchdown and one special teams stop in a role primarily as a blocker and on special teams.
Jones was the club’s seventh round pick in 2012. After spending his entire rookie campaign on Injured Reserve with a knee injury, Jones worked at both tackle and guard in the 2013 preseason. He came to the Saints after spending two seasons as Nebraska’s starting right tackle.
Rolle first joined the Saints off of waivers last Tuesday from the Buffalo Bills, who first signed him following the 2013 NFL Draft as a free agent out of Catawba. Rolle enjoyed a 16-interception career in college. As a senior in 2012, Rolle was an All-American selection, picking off six passes, breaking up 10 more, making 56 tackles, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and four blocked kicks.