Matt Hayball agrees to UDFA deal with New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints have signed Vanderbilt Commodores punter Matt Hayball to a deal as an undrafted free agent, according to a report by Tom Pelissero. Hayball is an Australian-born player.

Matt Hayball started his career with the FAU Owls. He spent three seasons in Boca Raton before he transferred to Vanderbilt for his final two college seasons.

For his career, Matt Hayball averaged 45.2 yards per punt on 289 career punts. He’s also done a good enough job tackling when needed, making 10 during his time in college. At times, he’s even shown off his athleticism, carrying the ball four times for 42 career yards.

Statistically, 2023 was Matt Hayball’s best season, punting 57 times for an average of 47.6 yards per punt. That was good enough to be named a Second Team All-American and was a Ray Guy Award finalist. On top of that, he was a First Team All-SEC selection as a punter.

Matt Hayball is a native of Australia and came out of ProKick Australia, where he was an unranked recruit in the 2019 cycle, according to the On3 Industry Ranking, a weighted average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies.

Over the course of his two seasons at Vanderbilt, the Commodores went just 7-17. With inconsistencies on offense for Vanderbilt, Matt Hayball had plenty of opportunities to punt and gain experience in the SEC.

The New Orleans Saints are coming off a 9-8 finish, which was second in the NFC South. However, it wasn’t good enough to make it to the playoffs. With that, it’s been since the 2020 season, under Sean Payton, that the Saints last made it to the playoffs.

Punting was a major issue for New Orleans during the 2023 season. Lou Hedley, who played in all 17 games, averaged just 43 yards per punt, which was 33rd out of the league’s qualified punters. However, his 31 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, which was tied for fifth in the NFL.

What NFL Draft analysts are saying about Matt Hayball

Prior to the NFL Draft, analyst Lance Zierlein broke down Matt Hayball and what to expect from the Vanderbilt punter in the NFL.

“Hayball has good lever length and an ability to sail kicks with natural power. However, he will need to prove he can generate coverage success through hang time over rugby-style operation time. Hayball is a left-footed punter whose directional punts are almost always toward the right side of the field, but he operates with good touch and consistency,” Zierlein wrote.

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

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