New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced Monday the team has signed tackle Hutch Eckerson, cornerback Nick Hixson, guard DeOn'tae Pannell and linebacker Lawrence Wilson. The club has also waived tackle Dan Hoch, guard Nick Howell, linebacker Stephen Johnson, tackle Phil Trautwein and cornerback Josh Victorian. All four new additions participated in last weekend's rookie minicamp.
Eckerson is a 6-6, 310-pound product of South Carolina who first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2011, before being waived prior to the regular season. The Lumberton, N.C. native played for the Gamecocks from 2006-10. He started 23 career games, seeing action at both tackle spots.
Hixson (6-0, 189) participated in this weekend's camp after a standout four-year career at Hillsdale (Mich.) College. He excelled at cornerback, wide receiver and kickoff returner for the Chargers, where as a senior in 2011, he had two interceptions and broke up 11 passes, while also averaging 22.3 yards per kick return, as he was a First-Team All-GLIAC selection.