New Orleans Saints turn to XFL for defensive line depth

Jack Heflin, Houston Roughnecks
Jack Heflin, Houston Roughnecks / Bob Levey/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints aren't through adding to their defensive front, with the Saints plucking their player from the NFL's newest pipeline.

It seemed inevitable when the new spring football leagues popped back up, of course being the respective rebirths of the USFL and XL that both leagues would be essentially turn into farm systems or, for lack of a better term, minor leagues for the NFL to bring in new players. The New Orleans Saints are taking full advantage, adding a defensive lineman to a group that was arguably the Saints biggest need this offseason.

The defensive line of the Saints was gutted in free agency, and while the front office did a solid job of retooling and reloading the group with signings, res-signings, and draft picks, you can never have enough defensive linemen. Enter the XFL.

The Houston Roughnecks have become one of the more solid XFL franchises, even back in 2020, and had a solid 2022 campaign. They are no strangers to showcasing future NFL talent, especially in the NFC South, with now-Chicago Bears quarterback PJ Walker starting some games for the Carolina Panthers after being named the XFL's 2020 MVP. Now, Jack Heflin joins that list of former Roughnecks turned NFL professionals.

Heflin fried out for the Saints during their rookie minicamp, and clearly impressed the Saints by his performance. The 25-year-old Northern illinois turned low alumni was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Green Bay Packers in 2021, and even made the opening day roster. Last season, he was waived from the Packer's practice squad, before meeting a similar fate on the practice squad of the New York Giants.

Now, after being named to the All-XFL Team, Heflin's NFL dreams are still alive thanks to the New Orleans Saints. With the uncertain makeup of the defensive line, Jack Heflin has a chance to make some noise in the Big Easy, even if it won't be easy. Either way, it's a low-risk high reward move that should certainly be applauded.