Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette lived with an aunt in Haiti until age 10 before reuniting with his parents in a New York suburb, and in his own words, "came from nothing."
Cameron Jordon was practically born into the NFL - a child of privilege whose father played tight end for the Minnesota Vikings.
As defensive teammates in New Orleans, they complement each other rather well, emerging this season as one of the most effective pass-rushing tandems in the NFL.
"I respect what Cam has done to get here," Galette said after Thursday's practice, reflecting on his and Jordan's divergent paths to pro football. "I came from nothing, but in some ways it's harder when you know you always have someone to support you. He was able to stay motivated."
Jordan, who is 6-foot-4, 287 pounds, played four years at the University of California before the Saints selected him in the first round - 24th overall - of the 2011 draft.
After Jordan finished last season with eight sacks, the Saints hoped he'd emerge as an elite pass-rushing end in 2013.
He has 11 1/2 sacks so far this season, making him the first Saints player since Will Smith in 2009 to surpass 10.
Galette isn't far behind - with nine - as the Saints (10-3) prepare to travel to St. Louis (5-8) on Sunday.
"Both of them have good motors," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "Those two guys have really stepped up and given us consistent pressure. Sometimes it may not result in sacks. Sometimes it may result in a hurry that results in an incompletion. On third down, that's (getting the defense) off the field."
With 20 1/2 sacks combined, Jordan and Galette represent the second-most productive sack tandem in the NFL.
The only teammates to combine for more sacks this season are Kansas City's Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, who each have 11.
While Jordan was a returning starter, it wasn't clear last offseason how prominent of a role the 6-2, 258-pound Galette would have in his fourth pro season.
With the Saints switching to a 3-4 front under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Galette was moved from end to outside linebacker, but still was expected to be an edge pass-rusher, rotating in to spell projected starter Will Smith.
That changed when Smith had a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.
Now Galette, who was undrafted in 2010, is making the Saints' scouting department look pretty good.
Galette had started his college career at Temple, spending three seasons there, but was dismissed when a relative staying with him was caught with stolen property. He finished his college career at Division II Stillman.
"He's obviously come a long way," Payton said. "He was a free agent we looked closely at. We saw speed and athleticism in the player. ... Where he's at now is because he had a vision and he worked extremely hard."
Galette became increasingly optimistic about this season shortly after Ryan was hired.
"When Rob got here, he actually called me. He said he's looking at this film and didn't really know who I was before. And he was like, `Wow, you can be special,'" Galette recalled. "I'm like, `Man, this guy's just building my confidence up.'"
In New Orleans' 31-13 victory over Carolina last Sunday night, the Saints sacked Cam Newton five times. Galette was credited with three and Jordan two.
Galette said he and Jordan sensed early on that they could cause havoc together in opposing offensive backfields, and shared the belief since the season started they would combine for 20 sacks or more.
"We knew it was going to happen. Like, we called it," Galette said. "We knew that (Jordan) has the power and all the skill set to beat any tackle in this league. And I come off the edge with speed and push the pocket."
Galette and Jordan say credit for their production goes in no small part to the Saints interior linemen for compressing the pocket, as well as to those in pass coverage for giving them the time to get to the quarterback. But middle linebacker Curtis Lofton said Galette and Jordan have been exceptional.
"They have taken steps toward being a very good or even special pass rushers," Lofton said. "They have all the moves - a bull rush, speed rush, spin move. They have a counter to whoever is going to try to block them."
Notes: TE Josh Hill (hamstring), S Rafael Bush (ankle) and LB Keyunta Dawson (calf) missed practice. ... DE Glenn Foster (knee) and DT Brodrick Bunkley (back) were limited.
Well folks, it's here! Football season starts when the team reports to training camp, and the New Orleans Saints are beginning to nestle in up here in West Virginia.
I had the pleasure of making the 14 hour drive with the Voice of the Saints and...
Arkansas Razorbacks: After leading the Wisconsin Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls, Brett Bielema is not used to winning only three games in a season. Arkansas was 3-9 in 2013, but his second year brings better expectations and likely more wins for...
As the Who Dat Nation no doubt knows, Saints training camp starts this week! As the Black and Gold head out to West Virginia, let's take a quick look at how the other teams in the NFC South are shaping up.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons will hold camp...
As SEC Media Days continue this week, let's take a look at two more teams. How will the Wildcats and the Bulldogs fare in 2014?
Kentucky Wildcats: After a dismal 2-10 record in the first year under Coach Mark Stoops, there is nowhere to go but up...
People sometimes ask me how come I know so much about college football. My response is that I read, look, listen and watch. Not to follow the nation's toughest conference is flat out dumb. But hey, to each his own! Today was day two of SEC Media Days,...
Protection was an issue last season for the New Orleans Saints offensive line. After Terron Armstead got his first start in week 16 against the Panthers, I thought the big guys up front played much better down the stretch, creating running lanes for the...
According to the league transaction report, the Saints have placed nose tackle John Jenkins and Linebacker Cheta Ozougwu on the PUP list (Physically Unable to Perform). A player can be removed from that list at any point in training camp prior to week...
The Saints might have one of the deepest teams on paper, and certainly one of the more talented rosters in the NFL. However, with some changes on defense and offense, there are some pretty interesting battles shaping up in camp. Several other teams are...
Yeah, yeah, general managers are never in the running for Most Valuable Player in the NFL, and Saints GM Mickey Loomis isn't a player in the traditional sense. He doesn't block, he doesn't tackle, he doesn't catch or throw touchdowns....
Prior to the Jimmy Graham contract, New Orleans had about $1.7 million in cap room. After the Graham contract, the Saints saved roughly $3 million in cap space with Graham's cap hit for this season sitting at roughly $4 million dollars. The Saints...