The Saints have found impact players after the draft before. These 3 free agents may stick.

Just about every year, someone from the undrafted rookie free agent class finds a way to make an impression for the New Orleans Saints.

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Last season, it was a pair of specialists — Blake Grupe and Lou Hedley — who beat out veteran incumbents for the starting job. The year before that, Rashid Shaheed earned a role with his dazzling playmaking ability out of Weber State. Deonte Harty and J.T. Gray carved out All-Pro special-teams roles, and Carl Granderson and Juwan Johnson earned big paydays on their second contracts.

So, the odds are someone from this season’s group of undrafted free agents is going to contribute in some way to the 2024 Saints. Here are three who stand out

Colorado State TE Dallin HolkerCSU Rams TE Dallin Holker turns heads at combine with his long hair and now looks to do so with his play | Denver Broncos |

Want to know who led all FBS tight ends in receiving last year? Not No. 13 overall pick Brock Bowers, nor any of the other tight ends selected in the 2024 draft. It was Holker.

He’s not a perfect prospect, which is why he was still available after the draft. He’s undersized relative to the position (6-foot-3, 234 pounds), and therefore does not add a lot as a blocker. He’s already 24 years old, having done a two-year religious mission in Chile. And as good as Holker was last season, he didn’t produce much in his first three years of college ball.

But he obviously has some skill as a pass catcher, and he brings something to the table after the catch. Just take a peek at his highlights from Colorado State’s rivalry game against Colorado, in which he burned the Buffaloes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.

Johnson is entering the final year of his contract, and Foster Moreau has two years remaining. The rest of the tight end depth chart (not counting Taysom Hill) is rounded out by Michael Jacobsen and Tommy Hansen. If Holker’s receiving skills translate, he could push for a roster spot.

Idaho WR/KR Jermaine Jackson

2024 NFL draft: Saints spent big to sign Idaho WR Jermaine Jackson

New Orleans always seems to find a gem of a return man — typically an undersized, small-school receiver — in the undrafted free agent ranks. Maybe it did so again this year.

Jackson is very small by NFL standards, checking in at 5-6 and 176 pounds. But the Saints have had no problem taking fliers on players such as this after the draft — especially if they can add some juice as a returner.

And Jackson has an impressive career highlight reel. In his last two seasons at Idaho, he averaged 30.4 yards per kick return and 16.4 yards per punt return, finishing those two seasons with four return touchdowns.

Then there’s also the new NFL kickoff rules to consider.

Under the new rules, which will move touchbacks out to the 30-yard line and will have the kickoff coverage team set up at the receiving team’s 40-yard line, the NFL expects between 50% and 60% of kickoffs to be returned this season — a significant uptick that increases the value of return men because they’ll have more bites at the apple.

Although Shaheed made the Pro Bowl as a returner last year, the new rules may incentivize teams to have two returners back to return kicks.

That gives Jackson a path to the roster.

Vanderbilt P Matthew Hayball

Vandy Punter Matthew Hayball Hits Ray Guy List - Maury County Source

A year after finding a punter with Australian roots in their undrafted free agent class, the Saints have done it again.

Hayball is a West Adelaide, Australia, native who began his college football career at Florida Atlantic before finishing at Vanderbilt. After his senior year at Vanderbilt, Hayball was named a Ray Guy Award finalist and a second-team All-American after ranking top 10 nationally in punting average (47.6) and net punting average (43.1).

The Saints liked Hedley because he offered a nontraditional punting style — low, wobbly kicks that were difficult to catch. While Hedley effectively limited punt return yardage as a rookie last season, he finished near the bottom of the NFL in net punting, making it seem likely New Orleans would bring in some competition.

Hayball often deployed the rugby-style kicks at Vanderbilt, which helped his net punting average because it allowed coverage teams to get downfield, but he won’t do that at the NFL level. He does kick left-footed, which may offer the different look to his kicks the Saints were hoping to get out of Hedley last year.

Other notes

TCU safety Millard “Nook” Bradford will earn a look on special teams. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the combine and played more than 500 special-teams snaps at TCU. … The Saints signed two other international players after the draft in Nebraska OL Nouredin Nouili (Germany) and Boston College OL Kyle Hergel (Canada). … Arkansas DE Trajan Jeffcoat was a late addition to the UDFA class, and he brings some pass-rush upside: Between his time at Arkansas and Missouri, he recorded 15½ sacks.

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