Shawne Alston to New Orleans a "Great Situation" - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Shawne Alston to New Orleans a "Great Situation"


Geno Smith may have had the most publicized wait of any player in the NFL Draft, but it certainly wasn't the longest. That distinction belongs to the guys who never get their phone call and watch with friends and family as seven long rounds go by without the selection they so hoped for.

For Shawne Alston, the former West Virginia running back, it was a wait that he is glad he will never have to replicate.

"I didn't enjoy the process at all. I hated it," Alston said Saturday night. "I never want to do it again in my life."

Draft hopefuls never know exactly what to expect from the process. They can speak with their agent and some team representatives, but that doesn't mean that they will truly have any idea whether the scenario they planned out in their heads will unfold anything like it in reality.

They plan parties and welcome visitors and just hang out. After all, they've got four long round to watch, so let's all get comfortable in here and try to stay positive. And that whole time, the subject of the party is clutching his phone, urging it to ring.

"I wouldn't say it was stressful, because I had a whole lot of family around me and we were just enjoying ourselves," Alston said of his day. "But I was hoping to get drafted, I didn't get drafted, so we just waited, fielded a couple of calls and at the end of the day, me and my agent just felt like this was the best fit for me."

The best fit Alston speaks of came when the undrafted free agent calls came in. He ultimately chose to go the route of the New Orleans Saints, a team that he feels presents the opportunity for a running back with some size to make an impact in camp and stick on the roster.

"They just lost a running back who is a bigger guy than me, he's a 225-plus [pounds] guy," said Alston. "The way that they run their system, it's a multi-back system and you also have a couple of smaller backs. I feel like with that multi-back system, it allows me an opportunity to get on the field."

Alston needs to be able to prove to the Saints that he can stay healthy for an entire camp and through the season, something that hampered him in his time with West Virginia.

The 5-foot-11, 225-pound back finished his career with the Mountaineers rushing for 1,068 yards and 19 touchdowns on 234 carries. His reputation was to lower his shoulder pads and pound through a defense, but also exhibit some speed when he got to the second level of the defense.

Alston lost about 15 pounds from his frame in the offseason and showed off his abilities at WVU's pro day back in March, which he says was the first time he spoke with the Saints. He believes that he can be an asset to head coach Sean Payton's offense both with the ball in his hands and as a blocker in the passing game.

"They also have a great passing offense and I think pass blocking is my strength," said Alston. "If I can go out there and prove I can pass block and protect a franchise quarterback like Drew Brees, I can get on the field. I feel like this was a great situation for me."

Undrafted free agency isn't an easy way to get into the NFL. The players who come to teams through this route are seen as disposable if they don't live up to the standards set for the team.

It's up to Alston now to make the next move one that counts for his future, and it starts with rookie mini camp in two weeks.

"I guess the Saints saw something in me," Alston said. "They decided to give me a shot and I plan on taking full advantage of this opportunity."

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