The New Orleans Saints cut 33 players on Friday and Saturday, placed two on injured reserve, traded one and placed one on the reserve/suspended list as they trimmed their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here's a closer look at the final cuts:
Most significant move: Most significant and most surprising at the same time -- the Saints released third-year running back Jonathan Williams, who was expected to play a key role during Mark Ingram's four-game suspension. There were signs in recent weeks that rookie sixth-round draft pick Boston Scott's role would be bigger than initially expected as a backup to Alvin Kamara to start the season. But it was still pretty stunning to see Williams get cut -- especially after the Saints had released veteran Terrance West two weeks ago and placed veteran Shane Vereen on injured reserve Friday. That leaves just Kamara, Scott and RB/FB/special-teams specialist Trey Edmunds among running backs on New Orleans' roster. So it's possible the Saints will look to add another body this week. Either way, the 5-foot-6, 203-pound Scott -- a human pinball who was the shortest player selected in this year's NFL draft -- should be an intriguing and exciting player to watch early on. He might even have some fantasy relevance in very deep leagues.
Draft misses: Although Scott appears to be in line for a key role, the Saints waived three of their seven draft picks: fourth-round OT Rick Leonard, fifth-round CB Natrell Jamerson and sixth-round S Kamrin Moore. They also waived last year's sixth-round pick, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad. It's never good to miss on that many draft picks. But on the plus side, it's also a sign of how high the standard has become to crack a Saints roster that is pretty deep. They kept a total of four draft picks (DE Marcus Davenport, WR Tre'Quan Smith, Scott and G/C Will Clapp). They also kept two undrafted rookies (DT Taylor Stallworth and S J.T. Gray). ... One draft bonus? The Saints added a future seventh-round draft pick by trading first-year DT Devaroe Lawrence to the Cleveland Browns.
Meredith or Carr at WR? The Saints kept six receivers -- including WR/return specialist Tommylee Lewis. But they typically use only four receivers on offense during a game. So it will be interesting to see how they deploy their top receivers in Week 1: Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Cameron Meredith, Smith and Austin Carr. It could come down to a choice between Meredith and Carr at slot receiver. Meredith, who was signed as a restricted free agent after suffering a major knee injury with the Chicago Bears last season, finally had a breakout performance in the Saints' fourth preseason game with two catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. But he had zero catches in two preseason games before that, after he missed some time early in training camp with a minor injury. So it's not out of the question that the Saints could use Carr ahead of Meredith early in the season.
Saints' moves: Released: QB Tom Savage, QB J.T. Barrett, RB Jonathan Williams, WR Michael Floyd, WR/KR Brandon Tate, WR Keith Kirkwood, WR Tanner McEvoy, TE John Phillips, TE Garrett Griffin, TE Deon Yelder, G Josh LeRibeus, G Don Barclay, G Landon Turner, G Andrew Tiller, OT Michael Ola, OT Rick Leonard, OT Nate Wozniak, DE/LB Hau'oli Kikaha, DE George Johnson, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE Alex Jenkins, DT Jay Bromley, DT Woodrow Hamilton, DT Henry Mondeaux, LB Jayrone Elliott, LB KeShun Freeman, LB Colton Jumper, CB Marcus Williams, CB Natrell Jamerson, CB Sharrod Neasman, CB Linden Stephens, S Kamrin Moore, DB Robert Nelson. Injured reserve: RB Shane Vereen, TE Michael Hoomanawanui. Reserve/suspended (does not count toward the 53-man roster): Mark Ingram. Traded: DT Devaroe Lawrence (to Browns for seventh-round pick).