Third Consecutive Year That a Maverick Made It Into The NFL
As a Maverick,Jalen Sample played 42 games and scored 14 touchdowns.
Ben Standig with The Athletic reported that Jalen Sample, former Maverick wide receiver, has signed as an NFL undrafted free agent with the Washington Commanders.
News of the signing was posted May 2 on the PurplePTSD.com webpage, a site that follows and reports news surrounding the Minnesota Vikings. Adam Thielen provided the connection between Sample and the Vikings as the site saw Sample following a similar path as the Mavericks’ most successful NFL player.
A fellow former Maverick, Thielen was a 2014 undrafted free agent with this home state Vikings. Through determination and dedication, Thielen rose from the Vikings practice squad to one of the NFL’s top wide receivers.
At 6’6, Sample played 42 games and scored 14 TDs for the Mavericks. His best season was 2021 when he posted 64 receptions, 1047 yards and 8 touchdowns. He was expected to have a repeat season in 2022 until a foot injury in game four ended his season.
Last pre-season, Draft Diamonds named Sample among four Mavericks who could make it into the NFL.
Sample is the 11th Maverick since 1979 to enter the NFL. His signing marks the third consecutive year that a Maverick has entered the NFL.
Maverick wide receiver Shane Zylstra signed as an UDFA with the Vikings in 2021. He was waived during final roster cuts on August 31. On Sept. 1, the Detroit Lions signed up to its practice squad. Zylstra was elevated to the active roster in October 2021. During the 2022 season, the Lions added Zylstra’s older brother Brandon to its active roster. The two brothers teamed up for the Lions’ opening kickoff at last November’s game against the Green Bay Packers. The Lions went on to win 15-9.
In 2022, Maverick defensive end Brayden Thomas played one game with the Los Angeles Rams after he was elevated from practice squad to active roster.
Thielen’s nine seasons in the NFL is the longest logged by a former Maverick. Next in line is offensive lineman Chris Reed with seven years in the NFL and is currently signed with the Vikings.
As for Thielen, he stepped away from the Vikings prior to the 2023 draft after the team asked the 32-year-old starter to take a pay cut. In less than a week, he signed with the North Carolina Panthers to a three-year $25 million contract.