As we count down from 50 days until the New Orleans Saints begin their regular season in Atlanta, on September 7th, we're getting to know a little bit about those players who have signed on to bring home another Lombardi trophy.
Today, we take a brief look at two more defenders who entered the NFL as UDFA's: safety Rafael Bush and defensive end Tyrunn Walker!
So, with no more ado:
25 DAYS UNTIL ATLANTA!!!
#25 (S) Rafael Bush (4th Year, 3rd with Saints)
After a college career at South Carolina State, Rafael Bush was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent following the 2010 NFL Draft. The Falcons put him on the practice squad until the last game of the 2010 season, at which point they put him on the active roster but didn't play him. They put him back on the practice squad at the beginning of the 2011 season, where he remained until the Denver Broncos picked him up in October. At the end of the 2012 preseason, Bush was picked up by the New Orleans Saints, where -- with his preferred number (36) unavailable -- he chose to don No.25, the jersey number worn by former Saints running back Reggie Bush.
Rafael led the 2012 special teams unit with 15 tackles, while also contributing to the secondary with a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and an interception which he returned for 40 yards. In 2013, he appeared in 13 games with six starts in the secondary, posting 46 tackles (29 solo), six passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, while adding four special teams stops.
Atlanta tried reacquiring Bush after last season, but at the last moment, New Orleans exercised their right to match the Falcons' offer for the restricted free agent, and locked him in as a Saint for another two years. He would have been a starter in Atlanta, but currently sits as a solid No.3 safety behind Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro in Rob Ryan's defense.
2 yr(s) / $3,800,000, Average: $1,900,000 per year through 2015.
#75 (DE) Tyrunn Walker (3rd Year)
Tyrunn Walker played football at Jones County Junior College, in Ellisville, Mississippi, before transferring to Tulsa for his Junior season. During his two years at Tulsa, he recorded 84 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 11 pass deflections and 4 forced fumbles.
After going undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, Walker was picked up by the New Orleans Saints and managed to make the final 53-man roster against all odds. He was a healthy inactive for all of 2012, however; and began the 2013 season with one of several early injuries which decimated the Saints' defensive line last year. Walker was carted off the field with a left leg injury sustained against the Falcons in the first game of the regular season last year, though he returned to appear in seven total contests, on defense and special teams. During those seven games last season, he posted 12 tackles (five solo), a sack, and one pass defensed.
The young defensive lineman, who is capable of playing at end or tackle, looks to build on his experience in 2014 and establish himself as a solid contributor on the defensive line in this final season of his rookie contract. In his first game of this year's preseason, he posted six tackles, and one quarterback sack against the Rams.
3 yr(s) / $1,443,000. Average: $481,000 per year through 2014.