The best example of this would be Lance Moore.
Moore was undrafted out of Toledo and stayed in the state of Ohio by signing on with the Cleveland Browns. Later that year, the Saints signed Moore off of the Browns practice squad and onto their own. In that immediate offseason, New Orleans sent him to NFL Europe (remember that, guys?) and, by the time he came back, he was ready to be molded into the player you see today.
With that example in mind, I tried to look at the players who could have the same type of meteoric rise that Moore had, and here are the guys that I came up with.
The Saints love their small school guys, and Steed was on their radar after last year's draft, but I guess he found the New York Jets secondary an easier egg to crack.
Steed is a diamond in the rough, and all the Saints have to do is keep chipping away and they could find a future starter at cornerback. He played in a zone-based attack in college which didn't really translate to the Jets defense, but could fit perfectly in Steve Spagnuolo's scheme.
Steed might have come from a FCS school, but his "claim to fame" would be his shutting down of Brian Quick, a second-round pick for St. Louis last year, numerous times.
He has all the tools that would make him no worse than a great nickel corner in 2013. His 40 time might not be impressive, but he's a guy who plays faster on the field than in a timed event.
You might remember Fayson as part of the Illini influx of players that the Saints had during or after the 2011 NFL Draft.
Preseason injuries doomed his chance of making the Saints squad that year, but he has bounced around from Indianapolis to New England. He has come back to the Black and Gold ready to finish the impressive start he had to that 2011 offseason.
Fayson was one of two players—Joe Morgan being the other—that I thought could make it onto New Orleans' roster in some fashion and be groomed to take over for Devery Henderson and other elder statesman around their facility.
The only difference between the two? Injuries.
Fayson can flat-out fly, running 40 times around the 4.38 mark, and has consistently improved his game from his days with Tim Tebow at Florida to playing opposite Arrelious Benn in Illinois.
Look for Fayson to be a tough cut if he stays healthy.
Given the sad state of rushing the passer in New Orleans, I don't believe anyone's job is safe outside of Cameron Jordan, Martez Wilson and Junior Galette.
That slight crease in the door could give this former basketball player a chance to break out in 2013.
Broughton didn't start playing football until his junior year in high school and has slowly developed and improved into a player that Spags would love to have as a part of his defensive end rotation that he made so popular in New York.
This is a man who has his head on straight and does things the right way. Football isn't just a game to him—it's an outlet. After committing to Arizona, Broughton took a year off from football after his mother passed away from cancer. He has come back from that more focused than ever.
His stats might not say much at TCU, but he's got a physique and skill set that most players dream of. He runs the 40 in 4.56, has a wingspan of 81" and could be used on the line or backed off into coverage.
His versatility will be the key to him making the team or not.