4 Saints players whose stock has changed during training camp
By Kristen Wong
New Orleans Saints Trending Upward: 2. Jalen McCleskey
Onto the good news: Jalen McCleskey looked excellent in the past four days. Almost like a No. 2 wide receiver.
The homegrown undrafted free agent was signed by the Saints last April, and he’s coming off a highly productive college career at Oklahoma State and Tulane.
McCleskey led Oklahoma State with 73 receptions in 2016, third in the Big 12 conference, and ultimately finished his career there with 167 receptions for 1,865 yards and seventeen touchdowns. He spent his final season of eligibility in 2019 as a graduate transfer at Tulane, where he caught 37 passes for 581 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Green Wave in yards per catch (15.7).
And Saints’ blood runs in the family: his father, J.J. McCleskey, played for New Orleans on the other side of the line as a defensive back from 1994 to 1996.
From what he’s been producing in camp, his dad would sure be proud.
What sets McCleskey apart from, say, Chris Hogan, is his blazing speed. Take a look at how he matches up to current first-teamer Deonte Harris:
The kid can run. His 40-yard dash time and the route running ability he showed in practice drills makes people forget that he suffered a knee injury years ago. If he keeps it up, he could turn into an elite slot receiver for New Orleans with the quick feet and sure hands to take on the open field.
His stock goes way up this training camp. For the sake of the Saints’ wide receiver corps, we’re rooting for you, McCleskey.