METAIRIE — Newly signed veteran cornerback Marcus Williams and safety Robert Nelson have joined the New Orleans Saints at training camp.

The roster moves announced Sunday by coach Sean Payton give the Saints two players in the secondary named Marcus Williams, the other being a second-year safety and 2017 second-round draft choice.

The newly acquired Williams has played four NFL seasons, mostly with the New York Jets, for whom he played 39 games with 14 starts. He was traded last season to Houston and played in 10 games there as a reserve, intercepting one pass.

Nelson also is entering his fifth NFL season. He played in seven games for Cleveland in 2014, 11 for Houston in 2016 and two last season with the Jets.

Payton says the club waived guard Trevor Darling and defensive back De'Vante Harris to make room on the 90-man training camp roster for the new defensive backs.


New Orleans is still pleased by the progress of three players coming off of major surgeries to repair leg injuries suffered last season; left guard Andrus Peat, defensive end Alex Okafor and wide receiver Cameron Meredith.

None of the three players took the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Thursday's preseason game.

All three have been held out of several practices or limited in others -- Meredith has missed the last two -- and they're working their way back.

Asked about Peat specifically on Sunday, Payton took the opportunity to praise all three. Peat underwent surgery after breaking his fibula in the playoff win over Carolina, Okafor tore his Achilles tendon and Meredith is coming off of a torn ACL suffered last preseason with Chicago.

"He had team drills yesterday and two or three snaps today," Payton said. "There's a phrase, we kind of ramp them up, so each day we gradually increase a load, then we'll back off a day. ... Good to have him back out here taking reps with the first group. When you look at a few of our guys with injuries, like Alex, Andrus, and Cam, those guys are coming along well."

Meredith and first-round pick Marcus Davenport (pulled groin), tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, wide receiver Tommylee Lewis, defensive lineman Mitchell Loewen and offensive lineman Trevor Darling did not practice on Sunday. Lewis and Loewen were present at practice but not participate.

Joel A. Erickson of The Advocate (Baton Rouge) contributed to this story.