Former Ole Miss running back Jaylen Walton didn't hear his name called during the NFL Draft, but it sounds like he'll still get his shot in the NFL. Walton's tweet from Sunday afternoon suggests he's signed a free agent deal with the New Orleans Saints.
Thanks to the New Orlean Saints!! Strictly business— Jaylen Walton (@Jaylen_Walton) May 2, 2016
That makes two Rebels heading to mini camp in New Orleans—safety Trae Elston, who also went undrafted, signed with the Saints in the immediate aftermath of the draft on Saturday. And hey, both guys already have experience winning in the Superdome: their first road trip as freshmen was a 39-0 win over Tulane in 2012 and they closed their college careers four years later with a beat-down of Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.
The Saints like pass-catching, third-down backs (think Darren Sproles) and 5'8, 178-pound Walton could certainly fill that role. Over his final three seasons at Ole Miss, Walton caught 71 passes for 692 yards and four touchdowns. And his learning curve for the pro-style offense will be a little less steep considering that as a third-down back, he'll spend more time in the shotgun spread formations he grew accustomed to with the Rebels.
Just ask Alabama about his ability as a receiver out of the backfield.
"Being this size brings a lot of versatility too because we can line up in the slot, line up at the 1 at receiver, we can run different combination routes one-on-one, we can line up in the backfields and get handoffs, inside and outside," Walton told Red Cup last month. "Special teams as well, being able to received punts and kickoffs. That's a big deal in the NFL when you have one player that can play three different positions."
Walton racked up 1,957 yards on the ground during his Ole Miss career, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and running for 17 touchdowns. Shifty as all hell with afterburners in the open field, he was an ever-present threat to break open a game with a big play. Remember that 91-yard scamper to win the the 2014 Egg Bowl?
Still, Walton faces an uphill climb to make the Saints' roster. New Orleans is currently carrying six other running backs: Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, (former Mississippi State player) Vick Ballard, Travaris Cadet and seventh-round pick Daniel Lasco.