For the past two weeks, teachers at Breaux Bridge High School have been stopping by Paul Broussard's office to offer congratulations on the former player who spent five years at LSU and now has an NFL shot in New Orleans.

Travin Dural's football career is playing out within an easy drive of his hometown.

Dural, who saw seven rounds of the NFL draft pass two weeks ago without hearing his name called, signed with the Saints shortly after the draft ended and now gets ready to take the practice field for his hometown team at rookie minicamp this weekend.

A few other teams tried to lock down Dural's services in the whirlwind of phone calls after the draft, but the team his family grew up loving and cheering held the biggest pull. 

"That was the best opportunity for me to make the roster, along with playing for my home state with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. That was something I couldn't pass on," Dural said. 

Dural said he believes he handled the draft well. 

Beyond the understandable stress every draftable player faces, Dural found himself thrilled at seeing former teammates like Leonard Fournette, Jamal Adams, Tre'Davious White and five others hear their names called.

Dural, who was projected as a late-round pick or an undrafted free agent by most analysts, was prepared for the possibility that a call from a team might not come.

"It happens all the time, people go undrafted," Dural said. "It's something that, I wouldn't say I was expecting, but I wasn't just thinking it couldn't happen to me, because I've seen it happen to guys that could've gotten drafted. I think I handled it pretty well."

Why Dural, who has good size at 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, went undrafted is impossible to pinpoint without taking a look at the scouting reports from all 32 teams.

LSU's lack of a prolific passing attack kept Dural from posting more than 37 catches in a season in college, but that's not necessarily a deal-breaker for a player with incredible athleticism.

"I spoke to a scout that came by and visited me," Broussard, who retired as Breaux Bridge's football coach in 2016, said. "He said, 'No, we understand, we don't judge the quality of the athlete by the offense they run,' so I thought he would have gotten drafted."

Broussard knows the kind of athleticism Dural possesses, the speed and explosiveness that won him state titles in the 200-meter dash, the high jump and placed him third in the long jump as a senior.

But Dural also suffered a gruesome hamstring injury in November of 2015 when his hamstring popped off the bone after a fall against Ole Miss, and although he says he's fully healthy now, the 4.57-second 40-yard dash he ran at the NFL scouting combine doesn't fit his track-star profile.

"I think he's faster than what his 40 time is," Broussard said.

The injury definitely affected his senior season. Dural averaged just 10 yards per catch, far below the 19.9 yards per reception he averaged as a big-play weapon his first three seasons.

"I was good to go, but an injury like that takes well over a year to heal, and (I was) kind of getting back and trying to strengthen it at the same time," Dural said. "I wouldn't say it limited me, but I wasn't at my full potential for the past season because of the injury."

Whatever the reasons, Dural has moved past the draft disappointment, focusing instead on his opportunity with a Saints team that has built a reputation for turning undrafted players into stars, particularly at a receiver position that has seen Lance Moore and Willie Snead, along with seventh-round pick Marques Colston, become key targets for Drew Brees.

Dural knew that history well when he chose the Saints.

"I definitely did," Dural said. "It's something going into picking my team, I knew that they'd played a lot of undrafted guys, and that was something I thought about a lot, that there'd be opportunity for me to make the roster."

Dural joins a Breaux Bridge tradition of NFL players that goes from Paul Guidry down to Jake Delhomme and Domanick Williams (formerly Domanick Davis), now carried on by former LSU linebacker Lamar Louis, who spent time with Arizona, New Orleans and Baltimore last season.

With Breaux Bridge and LSU in his past, Dural will draw more attention than most of the undrafted free agents the Saints have signed over the years.

"With Travin going to LSU, local, and then going to the Saints, they'll really pay attention, because for the most part, everybody around here are all Saints fans, so that makes it more attractive," Broussard said. "A lot of times, those players jump around from team to team, and if you're not following that team, you kind of lose track of them."

Easy to keep track of Dural in their own backyard.

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.

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