Chances are you've never heard of Porter Gustin or Jordan Wyatt or David Simmons or any of the other wanna-be-a-Saint-when-the-season-starts rookies participating in OTAs this week.

But they are all hoping to change that.

Those undrafted rookies want their names — the same names never called in last month's NFL draft — to become household names to Saints fans.

But more importantly, they want to do all they can to make their names familiar ones to Sean Payton and his coaching staff.

Trying to make the roster as an undrafted free agent isn't the way most of them envisioned making it to the NFL.

One of the toughest parts is already out of the way. That came during those three days when they waited for their phones to ring during the draft. For them, it never happened.

"It sucks," said Gustin, a linebacker from Southern Cal. "Obviously I think I should have been drafted. But it is what it is. So I'm just grateful I was able to get signed as a free agent. Really, all I need is an opportunity and that's what I'm looking for."

Fortunately for guys like Gustin, the Saints have found their share of hidden gems via undrafted rookies in recent years.

The Saints have had at least one undrafted rookie make the team each of the past three years. They currently have 11 players on the roster who they signed as undrafted free agents. That doesn't include players like quarterback Taysom Hill, an undrafted free agent for Green Bay before being picked up by the Saints.

Payton says much of that success in finding undrafted talent is due to the length of the draft.

"There are only seven rounds," Payton said. "There was a time historically when the draft went much deeper, 12 rounds. So there are a lot of good football players that aren't going to be selected when the draft ends."

It's up to the Saints' scouting department to find that talent. One of the teams best finds came in Payton's second season when they found former running back Pierre Thomas. 

"I think more than anything you’re trying to find traits that maybe draw you to a player," Payton said. "And then just importantly, what is the vision you have as a coaching staff for that player? When you only have seven rounds, that’s not as many as they used to have. There are a lot of good football players that go undrafted. Each year history tells us that.”

It helps of course, if there is a need. While talent helps, it is just as important for players to check out the depth charts and see if they have a space to fit in.

"A lot of it has to do with (for example) if we are thin at some certain positions," Payton said. "He and his agent are looking at possible landing spots, and maybe they have highlighted five teams that if they are not drafted, might have more of a need at his position. A lot of it has to do with the depth on the team that they sign with."

It can also help if a player is versatile. Being able to play on special teams always helps.

Last season, it was defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth and receiver Keith Kirkwood who ended up making the Saints as undrafted rookies. Stallworth says its important for players to have good showings at rookie minicamps and OTAs.

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"Show what you got and get in that playbook and learn that playbook because coaches really look at that," Stallworth said. "You need to learn that playbook and give it all you've got. No matter how tired you are, show that you've got effort. They look at that. They look at small things. Just do the small things."

Wyatt, a cornerback from SMU, is planning to do just that.

Undrafted rookie Jordan Wyatt hoping to add name to list of SMU grads on Saints roster

"I wasn't going to be surprised if I was drafted or if I wasn't," Wyatt said during rookie minicamp. "You just look for an opportunity and I'm blessed to have this opportunity. Going undrafted definitely gives you a little chip on your shoulder. So that's what I have been doing, practicing with a chip on my shoulder. Just coming in, doing anything I can do to get on that field, whether it's special teams, defense or whatever."

Gustin, who battled injuries in college, says it'll be important for him to stay healthy and show what he can do. He relishes the opportunity.

"Whether you're a first rounder or an undrafted free agent, when you get the opportunity, you have to perform," Gustin said.

Players on Saints 2018 roster signed by team as undrafted free agent: 

TE Josh Hill (2013) 

CB Ken Crawley (2016)

TE Garrett Griffing (2016)

WR Dan Arnold (2017)

WR Travin Dural (2017) Injured reserve

DB J.T. Gray (2017)

OL Cameron Tom (2017)

OL Nate Wozniak (2017)

QB J.T. Barrett (2018) 

WR Keith Kirkwood (2018)

DT Taylor Stallworth (2018)

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Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.