On Friday, ESPN's Rick Reilly took it upon himself to re-draft the entire first rounds of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 NFL Drafts knowing now what we didn't know then. The results are nothing short of impressive for the New Orleans Saints, who have been able to get incredible value out of their later round draft picks during the Sean Payton era. Most of us have already known that but Reilly's re-draft experiment proves it:
We learn that there's a reason the re-draft champions, the New Orleans Saints, have finally become a power. They stopped wasting first-round picks (their worst, WR Robert Meachem, only fell 44 spots) and they've found more bargains than Yelp (linemen Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans, to name two -- a combined +243 -- both of whom would be first-rounders now).
In 2006, Reilly thinks Saints Pro Bowl tackle Jahri Evans should have been taken 7th overall, a jump of +101 spots from his actual draft position of 108th overall. And for those of you that may think Reggie Bush is a draft bust, Reilly still has Bush as a first round pick in 2006, only this time he's the final pick of the round.
Jermon Bushrod becomes the 27th overall re-draft selection in 2007, up +98 positions from his actual draft slot. As stated above, Reilly moves Robert Meachem down -44 spots to 71st overall.
The Saints had not one but two of their 2008 draft picks get moved up to the first round in Reilly's re-draft. Tracy Porter now gets taken 12th overall instead of 40th and Carl Nicks makes a huge jump of +142 spots when he's re-drafted 22nd overall. Sedrick Ellis only slipped -29 positions to 36th overall.
When it's all said and done, the Saints lead the league in draft value with a score of +266 using Reilly's re-draft formula. That's some pretty exceptional drafting right there, wouldn't you agree?