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New Orleans Saints sign seven to reserve/futures contracts

New Orleans native, guard Cyril Lemon, in the group

The top Saints celebrations photos of the 2015 season. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)

New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced that the following players have signed reserve/futures contract with the club; wide receiver Reggie Bell, safety Alden Darby, cornerback Brandon Dixon, guard Cyril Lemon, defensive tackle Ashaad Mabry, tight end Chris Manhertz and tackle Bryan Witzmann.

Bell (5 feet 11, 201 pounds):Bell spent the second half of the season on the New Orleans practice squad after originally being signed by the Washington Redskins out of the University of San Diego as a free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft. The Manteca, Calif., native finished his college career ranked fourth all-time in school history in receiving yards and seventh in receptions (172) and touchdown receptions (24) in 44 games. As a senior in 2014, he earned second-team All-Pioneer League honors after catching 40 passes for 779 yards and seven touchdowns.

Darby (5-10, 192): Darby was originally signed as a free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers out of Arizona State and also spent the 2015 offseason and preseason with Pittsburgh before joining the New Orleans practice squad in Week Two. The Long Beach, Calif., native was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and team captain as a senior in 2013, when he started all 14 games and finished with 72 tackles (54 solo), two tackles for loss, four interceptions, one returned for a touchdowns, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a team-high 13 passes defensed. Overall, he played in 50 games with 28 starts in four years for the Sun Devils and registered career totals of 217 tackles (155 solo), 8.5 tackles for loss, 26 passes defensed, 10 interceptions, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

Dixon (5-11, 203):Dixon was originally a sixth round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2014 out of Northwest Missouri State who spent his rookie campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played in 14 games and recorded nine tackles (eight solo), one interception and two passes defensed. The twin brother of Saints cornerback Brian Dixon, Brandon spent the second half of the 2015 season on the New Orleans practice squad following stints on the Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots practice rosters.

Lemon (6-3, 315):This New Orleans native first signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of North Texas following the 2015 NFL Draft and spent the season on the practice squad and practice squad injured reserve. Lemon spent four years on the offensive line for the Mean Green where he received several honors including Conference USA All-Conference and All-Sun Belt team selections, also serving as a team captain in 2014. Playing both guard and tackle in his college career, he was a vital cog in the offensive front on a unit that set a school record for total yards in a season with 5,336 in 2013.

Mabry (6-3, 315):Signed by New Orleans as an undrafted free agent out of Texas-San Antonio in 2015, Mabry was a four-year contributor on the defensive line for the Roadrunners, appearing in 46 games with 12 starts. The San Antonio native recorded 49 stops as a senior in 2014 while appearing in all 12 contests.

Manhertz (6-6, 255):After originally spending the 2015 offseason and the start of training camp with the Buffalo Bills, Manhertz joined New Orleans at the end of the preseason and spent the entire regular season on the team's practice squad. The New York City native transitioned to football after being a four-year letterman in basketball at Canisius, where he average 6.5 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game in 98 contests, leading the team in rebounds for three straight campaigns.

Witzmann (6-7, 311): Originally signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent out of South Dakota State in 2014, Witzmann spent his rookie season on injured reserve. After being waived by Houston at the conclusion of the 2015 preseason, he had two stints on the Saints practice squad. The Houlton, Wis., native was a four-year starter at left tackle in college, recording a school-record 49-consecutive starts and a two-time All-American.

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