Trade update: Top talented star agree UDFA deal to join Saints

Report: Matt Hayball agrees to UDFA agreement with the New Orleans Saints.
Tom Pelissero reports that the New Orleans Saints have signed Vanderbilt Commodores punter Matt Hayball as an undrafted free agent. Hayball is an Australian-born player.

Matt Hayball began his career with the FAU Owls. He played three seasons in Boca Raton before transferring to Vanderbilt for his last two college seasons.

Matt Hayball averaged 45.2 yards per punt across 289 career punts. He’s also done an adequate job of tackling when necessary, totaling ten tackles during his college career. He’s even demonstrated his athleticism by running the ball four times for 42 career yards.

Matt Hayball’s finest season statistically came in 2023, when he punted 57 times for an average of 47.6 yards. That earned him a spot on the Second Team All-American list and made him a Ray Guy Award finalist. In addition, he was named First Team All-SEC as a punter.

Matt Hayball is an Australian native who came from ProKick Australia, where he was an unranked recruit in the 2019 cycle, according to the On3 Industry Ranking, a weighted average that includes all four main recruitment media organizations.

The Vanderbilt Commodores finished 7-17 during his two seasons there. Vanderbilt’s offensive inconsistency provided many opportunities for Matt Hayball to punt and earn SEC experience.

The New Orleans Saints finished 9-8, ranking second in the NFC South. However, it was not good enough to go to the playoffs. The Saints haven’t made the playoffs since the 2020 season, when Sean Payton led them there.

Punting was a huge issue for New Orleans in the 2023 season. Lou Hedley, who appeared in all 17 games, averaged just 43 yards per punt, ranking 33rd among the league’s qualified punters. However, 31 of his punts were downed within the 20-yard line, which matched for fifth in the NFL.

What NFL Draft analysts are saying about Matt Hayball:
Prior to the NFL Draft, commentator Lance Zierlein discussed Matt Hayball and what fans might expect from the Vanderbilt punter in the NFL.

“Hayball has good lever length and can sail kicks with natural power. However, he will need to demonstrate that he can achieve coverage success through hang time rather than rugby-style operation time. Hayball is a left-footed punter whose directional punts are virtually always to the right side of the field, but he has good touch and consistency,” Zierlein said.

“He should get a chance to compete for an NFL job but will need to eliminate opportunities for returns as a pro.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *