Vanderbilt linebacker Anfernee Orji

Vanderbilt linebacker Anfernee Orji runs a drill at the NFL combine Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Indianapolis.

From Sammy Knight to Pierre Thomas to Rashid Shaheed, the New Orleans Saints have often unearthed some gems among their annual group of undrafted rookie free agents.

Who's next?

That's the third topic in our writers' latest Saints roundtable. On Monday, we gave the Saints letter grades for their draft class. On Tuesday, we discussed potential impact rookies. Here's the latest question, along with our writers' favorites:

The Saints have done well with finding players after the draft. Which undrafted free agent do you think has the best shot at making the team?

Jeff Duncan: I think (Vanderbilt linebacker) Anfernee Orji has a great chance to make the team. He was a productive team leader at Vandy and plays a position where the Saints lack depth. His ability to contribute on special teams will be important to his chances at landing a roster spot. I’m also intrigued by (Virginia) defensive back A.J. Johnson. He has the size, speed and playmaking ability to play a variety of positions in the secondary.

Luke Johnson: I thought Anfernee Orji would’ve made a lot of sense for the Saints in the fifth round, and I think he’s going to end up being the steal of this undrafted free agent class. How is it that a guy who posted the best vertical leap (38½ inches) and third-best 10-yard split (1.54 seconds) among linebackers at the combine, a guy racked up 266 tackles and 22 tackles for loss in the Southeastern Conference the last three years, went undrafted?

Terrin Waack: Restating what Luke said about Anfernee above. I’d like to also throw in Tulane linebacker Nick Anderson here. Adding two rookie linebackers to the roster is a smart move, more so for the future rather than the present. Saints linebackers coach Michael Hodges has proven he can develop players well. Look at how Kaden Elliss busted out onto the scene in 2022 after working on his craft and mainly playing special teams the previous three years. Elliss has gone off to the Atlanta Falcons, though, so it’s time for another youngster to learn and grow in this rather successful position group. At least one of these two is bound to do so, and Demario Davis isn’t getting any younger.

Rod Walker: I’ll take Nick Anderson here as well. His size (5-10, 200) caused teams to stay away from him in the draft. However, he’ll make up with his lack of size with effort and all the intangibles that made him so successful when he was at Tulane. I wouldn’t expect him to step in and get many snaps at linebacker right away, but he’s the type of guy who will embrace his role as a contributor on special teams, and he will earn his spot there to get his foot in the door. He’ll learn a lot from being in the room with Demario Davis.