Following in Warner's footsteps

Updated: June 18, 2004, 9:19 AM ET
By Steve Muench | Scouts, Inc.
Kurt Warner went from undrafted free agent in Green Bay to three seasons of arena ball to the St. Louis Rams, who promptly sent him to NFL Europe. Of course, that's where his story turned into a fairytale: Warner led NFL Europe in passing, earned a spot on the Rams' roster, stepped in for the injured Trent Green and won the NFL's MVP award and the 2000 Super Bowl.

Kurt Warner
While NFL Europe can give marginal players who've knocked around for a few seasons – such as Warner in 1998 – a chance to jump-start their careers, it is primarily viewed as a developmental league. NFL teams send younger players who lack experience in game conditions to Europe to get that playing time. As a result, unknown or unheralded players can emerge as potential contributors.

While Warner's rapid ascent was exceptional, it's not unusual for a player to return from Europe with a better chance to succeed in the NFL. Here are five players who improved their stock this year with strong performances overseas:

Steve Muench played four years of Division I-AA football before joining Scouts Inc. in 2002. He has evaluated both NFL and college players for Scouts Inc., but his current focus is on the NFL draft.