Daniel Whelan has signed for the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent, making him the first Irish player involved with an NFL franchise since 1985. The Enniskerry native did not hear his name called during the seven rounds of the NFL draft which concluded on Saturday, but soon after penned a deal with the Saints.
The former St Gerrard’s pupil will compete with Blake Gillikin, who was the starting punter for the Saints during the 2021 season, for a roster spot in training camp.
Dan Whelan signs with New Orleans
Whelan, 23, moved from Wicklow to California aged 13. He eventually earned a scholarship to punt at the University of California-Davis. In 2021, he was named an FCS All-American, cementing his status as a legitimate NFL prospect.
Whelan is expected to report to a rookie minicamp with New Orleans in the coming weeks.
Kicker James McCourt, the other Irish-born prospect who had declared for this draft, also did not hear his name called. His status as a free agent remains unclear.