New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced today the team has signed the following players to their eight-man practice squad: DE Braylon Broughton, LB Ezra Butler, G Ricky Henry, G Harland Gunn, TE Michael Higgins, CB Nick Hixson, S Jerico Nelson and WR Andy Tanner.
Broughton, 6-6, 272, joined New Orleans as a rookie free agent from Texas Christian after the 2012 NFL Draft. In the preseason, he recorded four tackles and one sack. The Dallas native was a three-year letterman for the Horned Frogs, appearing in 40 games with five starts. He finished his college career with 45 tackles (32 solo), 9.5 stops for a loss, three sacks, three passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one blocked kick. As a senior in 2011, Broughton played in 13 contests with five starts and registered 25 tackles (12 solo), including a team-high six stops for a loss, along with two sacks and a blocked kick.
Butler, 6-2, 248, originally joined New Orleans on their practice squad in the 2010 postseason, after originally coming into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2008 out of the University of Nevada. After spending 2011 on injured reserve, Butler recorded seven tackles (three solo) for the Saints in the 2012 preseason. Butler, who also played for the United Football League's Las Vegas Locomotives from 2009-10, led the Nevada Wolfpack with 92 tackles as a senior in 2007 and added 12.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three interceptions for 18 yards, five pass defenses, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries
Henry, 6-4, 310, was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2011. After spending the first two and a half months on the Bears practice squad as a rookie, he was promoted to the active roster for the final six weeks of the regular season and appeared in one contest.
Gunn, 6-2, 314, was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie free agent following the 2012 NFL Draft out of the University of Miami (Fla.). Following a four-year career with the Hurricanes, Gunn worked at both center and guard for the Cowboys in their training camp.
Higgins, 6-5, 242, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska-Omaha by the Saints in 2011. After spending the first three months of last season on the practice squad, he was promoted to the active roster, where he appeared in two games and had a four-yard reception. He also appeared in both postseason games and posted a ten-yard catch.
Hixson, 6-0, 189, was signed by New Orleans after the 2012 NFL Draft out of Hillsdale College. In the preseason, he posted two tackles and one pass defense. A three-year starter at Hillsdale, the Remus, Mich. native made 62 tackles (36 solo), two interceptions, a team-best nine pass defenses and one fumble recovery as a senior.
Nelson, 5-10, 216, is a former Destrehan High School and John Curtis Christian High School standout who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas. In the 2012 preseason, he posted six tackles and one special teams stop. As a four-year letterman with the Razorbacks, he played in 49 games and finished with 269 tackles, 27 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, four interceptions, nine passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Tanner, 6-0, 183, originally signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Midwestern State in 2010. After spending most of the 2011 season on the Saints practice squad, Tanner enjoyed an impressive 2012 preseason before suffering an ankle injury, recording eight receptions for 120 yards (15.0 avg.) in the club's first three preseason contests.