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The New Orleans Saints added a new face to their roster on Thursday: wide receiver Jalen McCleskey, as announced by his representatives at National Sports Agency. The terms of McCleskey’s agreement with New Orleans were not immediately available.
McCleskey’s arrival follows a workout at Tulane’s recent NFL pro day, which was hosted at the Saints’ facility; the COVID-19 pandemic cut the 2020 pro day circuit short, so this was an opportunity for him to show scouts and coaches what he can do. He wasn’t picked during the last NFL draft, though he did join the Falcons for training camp.
He profiles as more of a slot receiver at 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, and said last year that he models his game off of pros like Cole Beasley and Julian Edelman. But his 4.28-second time in the 40 yard dash suggests he has better wheels than either of them, which is backed up by the 15.7 yards per reception he averaged in 2019 with Tulane. Before he transferred to team up with the Green Wave (where his father, a former Saints player himself, coaches defensive backs), though, McCleskey was one of the Big 12’s more effective slot receivers at Oklahoma State.
He’ll help round out the Saints receiving corps as they continue to stock up the 90-man offseason roster, but don’t expect this addition to stop New Orleans from considering high-end receivers in this year’s NFL draft. McCleskey adds competition to a thin spot on the depth chart as a high-upside athlete with an eagerness to chip in on special teams. It’s just one more step on the path to training camp later this summer.