Who Are The East-West Shrine Bowl Rookies Battling For A Roster Spot With The New Orleans Saints?

New Orleans cherry-picked eight rookies who participated in the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl.
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Pittsburgh wide receiver Bub Means (WO18) during the 2024 NFL
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Pittsburgh wide receiver Bub Means (WO18) during the 2024 NFL / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This year, the New Orleans Saints placed significant trust in the East-West Shrine Bowl, a testament to the game's reputation and the talent it showcases. Eight rookies, handpicked from this prestigious all-star game, proudly donned the black and gold during last weekend's rookie minicamp at the Oschner Sports Performance Center in Metairie.

Here's a look at the East-West Shrine Bowl alums with the Saints:

  1. Bub Means, Pittsburgh (WR) - No. 170 pick, 5th Round
  2. Khristian Boyd, Northern Iowa (DL) - No. 199 pick, 6th Round
  3. Josiah Ezirim, Eastern Kentucky (OL) - No. 239 pick, 7th Round
  4. Trajan Jeffcoat, Arkansas (DL) - UDFA
  5. Kyle Hergel, Boston College (OL) - UDFA
  6. Dallin Holker, Colorado State (TE) - UDFA
  7. Jacob Kibodi, Louisiana (RB) - UDFA
  8. Matthew Hayball, Vanderbilt (P) - UDFA

Early thoughts on these players from the Saints rookie minicamp from SNN:

Kyle T. Mosley  

Kyle Hergel
Oct 21, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Kyle Hergel (60) gets / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Rose

"Mainly a vertical threat, Means has strong build-up speed to pull away down the field. He was among the ACC leaders with 11 contested catches last season, using his body well to shield defenders and his tremendous leap to out-reach them. After the catch, Means has the strength and speed to pick up extra yardage consistently."

 Khristian Boyd
Northern Iowa defensive lineman Khristian Boyd (99) poses for a photo during the Panthers football / Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via

"Boyd is pure power, capable of locking down a nose tackle spot but with enough of a pass rush for 3-technique. He has a relatively compact frame and plays with great leverage to maximize his impressive strength. Commanding double-teams on most snaps, and he still had the power to push into backfields consistently."

Ross Jackson  

Trajan Jeffcoat
Feb 29, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Arkansas defensive lineman Trajan Jeffcoat (DL38) works out / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New Faces Impress, Demand Perfection, And Bring The Energy In New Orleans Saints Rookie Round-Up Minicamp Takeaways

Wide Receiver Bub Means: 

"Talk about looking the part, Means' physical presence stood out big time among the group of receivers present. His work over the middle of the field stood out most as well, particularly on post routes where he seemed to always find a way to get to the open areas. He looked the part of a solid hands-catcher on the outside with the ability to stretch the field."

Defensive Tackle Khristian Boyd: 

"The big defensive tackle looked nimble and aggressive right off the jump during today's practice. He was able to fly from the backside of a play to get what looked like it would have been a tackle for a loss on a stretch run to the outside. His quickness off the snap had some inconsistencies here and there, but when he was on it you could see his fight and presence. It can be tough to evaluate the trenches in no-tackle, light-contact environments. But his strength is very apparent nonetheless."

Defensive Lineman Trajan Jeffcoat: 

"The former Arkansas defensive lineman is hard to miss on the field, thanks to his stature. What was most interesting watching him throughout the day though was his getting work in kick return coverage. The Saints spent a few periods of practice with assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi leading drills around the league's new kickoff rules which he helped to develop."

John Hendrix 

Saints Rookie Minicamp Observations

  • Spencer Rattler made some good throws on the day. There's a lot to like there, and you just hope to see more of it as things progress. While these stats may not necessarily mean much, he finished the day going 5-of-6 in 7's and 6-of-6 in team. One of the best throws came at the end of practice when he connected on a deep ball over the middle to Bub Means. The only lone negative play was a fumbled snap. It wasn't entirely clear whether that was in the center or not.
  • Trajan Jeffcoat isn't hard to notice. He actually had some really good reps in covering kicks.
  • I saw Khristian Boyd get one quarterback pressure on the day. He was known for those in Northern Iowa, which had 60 of them.
  • Bub Means has a personality that you just absolutely love to see. He had the most energy of anyone in the locker room, and you can see how much he loves to play. I'm really excited to see what he does as things move along. He caught all four of his targets today.

Matt Hayball, Vanderbilt

"We have a legitimate punter competition brewing for training camp yet again. Hayball, another Aussie punter, is going to challenge Lou Hedley for the starting spot, and he certainly has the leg that fans will want to see in action. Hayball needs to ensure that he can adapt to the style Phil Galiano and Darren Rizzi liked out of Hedley, for starters, and then be able to demonstrate his ability as a holder. If New Orleans can cover as well as they did last year with a little extra yards behind them, it could go a long way."

Dallin Holker, Colorado State

"Holker has to be the top favorite to threaten for a roster spot right now, especially with his particular skill set. Juwan Johnson looks to be the guy again for New Orleans this year, and they need to find someone for their rotation who can provide something extra in the receiving department. Foster Moreau does a lot of the dirty work, and we aren't quite sure what Taysom Hill's exact role will be, so Holker's opportunity is there."

Stock Watch: Kyle Hergel, Boston College

"The Saints' interior line will have some interesting competition right now, with the primary need being the left guard spot. However, the depth spots are going to be up for grabs, and Hergel fits the bill as someone who could adapt to the new style of offense fairly easy and could get in the mix. It's hard to tell how offensive linemen are really doing until you get into training camp with contact, but Hergel is on the radar right now."

Kyle T. Mosley