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Saints come marching in for former Marble Falls lineman

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — As the Arizona Cardinals closed out the 2015 NFL Draft by choosing Louisville’s Gerald Christian as “Mr. Irrelevant” with the final pick May 2, former Marble Falls High School offensive lineman Cyril Lemon’s heart sank.

But then Lemon, who was a four-year starter at right guard for the University of North Texas, was flooded with calls from front offices around the league asking him if he’d like to sign a free agent contract and head to their camp. Among the callers were the Dallas Cowboys, the Chicago Bears, the Atlanta Falcons, the Miami Dolphins, the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints.

In the end, Lemon chose New Orleans, the city he left as an eighth-grader to escape Hurricane Katrina, though returning to Louisiana wasn’t really a factor in his decisions, he said.

“I felt like I had a better chance of making the team,” he said. “I like the style of offense they run. It’s my best option to make the team.”

He said he also considered the Cowboys.

The Saints’ offensive line coach is Bret Ingalls. Lemon said he looks forward to asking questions and learning the ways of being a professional athlete.

“I think I’ll enjoy any NFL coach,” he said. “I’m there to learn, to grow.”

Details regarding his travel plans were still being worked out.

“All I know is I’ll be in New Orleans and try to get a spot,” Lemon said.

He had watched seven rounds of the draft, hoping his name would be called among the 256 chosen by 32 NFL teams.

“Kind of disappointed because I heard … that some teams thought of me as a sixth- or seventh-rounder,” he said. “To not get picked and break UNT’s streak of undrafted players and go on with my dream (was disappointing).”

Former Burnet resident Jaxon Shipley, a receiver at the University of Texas, signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals.

On the final day of the draft, Lemon said his family hosted a small get-together.

“I knew for a fact I wasn’t going (to be drafted) on the first day,” he said. “The second day, you could think could be an option, but I knew I wasn’t going. But (on May 2), I’m committed. I have an opportunity. That’s all I wanted.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com