NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Saints don't show any bias when it comes to where and how they acquire potential contributors to their secondary. Just last season, undrafted players like Ken Crawley and De'Vante Harris found their place very early on. And of course, there's the success story of New Orleans product Delvin Breaux, who came to the Saints by way of the Canadian Football League.
The latest underdog looking to make the team is also a local: Bonnabel alumnus Arthur Maulet. The Saints didn't waste any time signing him after the draft, especially since they labeled him as a guy they expected to be off the board in a late round.
"You certainly are going to prioritize those players when the draft ends," says Saints head coach Sean Payton. "And he was one of those players. He's picking things up really well, and we'll just keep giving him more and more."
"It's fun," says Maulet. "It's football. I grew up down the street and played my high school ball at Bonnabel. I'm right here. I feel like I'm in my backyard."
However, as fun as it may be for Maulet, he still has to prove that he's worth the expectations the Saints placed on him. Payton says he's already impressed with him from a physical standpoint. But as we all know, it's usually the mental aspect that proves to be the biggest test for first-year players.
"The way the speed is, it's totally different from college," says Maulet. "It's a whole new level. It's like they hit the fast-forward button."
If Maulet can keep up, though, he could find himself holding down a key role in the Saints secondary.
"There's a vision for him," says Payton. "He's built well, and we see him being the smart player he is. We see him being a nickel candidate and someone that can play on the inside."
That certainly makes the position battle at cornerback going forward one to watch as the off-season progresses.