The New Orleans Saints hold the 15th pick in the first round of tomorrow's NFL Draft. With a second round pick removed as part of the bounty scandal punishment, the Saints won't have another pick until the third round.
This means that unless the Saints attempt to trade down in the first round and pick up a second round pick, they will have to make their first one count. So let's take a look at the Saints first round picks over the last ten years to see what history can teach us about what we might expect in the future.
2003: DT Jonathan Sullivan, Georgia (6th pick)
This is the first cringer on the list for the Saints. Sullivan was expected to make a big impact on defense but instead he only had 77 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble in three seasons.
A trade to the New England Patriots was worked out for wide receiver Bethel Johnson in June 2006, who was released by the Saints the same year.
Notable players still on the board after Sullivan in the first round: LB Terrell Suggs, S Troy Polamalu, RB Willis MaGahee, TE Dallas Clark, CB Nnamdi Asomugha.
2004: DE Will Smith, Ohio State (18th pick)
The Saints struck gold with Smith and though some may judge him now because of his age, he has been a force on defense with 457 tackles, 67.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 20 forced fumbles.
Notable players still on the board after Smith in the first round: DT Vince Wilfork, RB Steven Jackson, DE Jason Babin.
2005: OT Jammal Brown, Oklahoma (13th pick)
Brown began protecting Aaron Brooks but was a two time Pro Bowl selection with Drew Brees under center. An ACL injury allowed him to lose his starting spot to Jermon Bushrod and Brown was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2010 for a mid-round draft pick in 2011.
Notable players still on the board after Brown in the first round: LB Derrick Johnson, DE Marcus Spears, QB Aaron Rodgers, TE Heath Miller, DT Mike Patterson, OG Logan Mankins.
2006: RB Reggie Bush, USC (2nd pick)
Opinions vary on Bush but his arrival in New Orleans generated plenty of buzz just as his departure did in July of 2011 to the Miami Dolphins for safety Jonathan Amaya and a swap of a mere sixth round pick. Everyone will agree that Bush did great things with the Saints but never seemed to reach his full potential.
Bush's refusal to abandon his left to right, razzle dazzle running style plus injuries, a hefty salary, and the addition of running backs Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles hastened his departure.
Notable players left on the board after Bush in the first round: LB A.J. Hawk, TE Vernon Davis, S Donte Whitner, DT Haloti Ngata, DE Tamba Hali, CB Antonio Cromartie, WR Santonio Holmes, RB DeAngelo Williams, C Nick Mangold, RB Joseph Addai.
2007: WR Robert Meachem, Tennessee (27th pick)
The Saints needed help on defense but were obviously looking for a deep threat, and selected Meachem with that purpose in mind. However his rookie season was halted due to knee surgery. His best season was 2009 with 45 receptions for 722 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Of course Meachem gained glory when in that same season while playing against the Washington Redskins he ripped an intercepted Drew Brees pass from safety Kareem Moore and ran it back for a touchdown.
In 2012 he left via free agency for the San Diego Chargers and had only 14 receptions for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Notable players left on the board after Meachem in the first round: OG Ben Grubbs (with the Saints now), TE Greg Olsen, OT Joe Staley.