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Rear Window: Payton-era 1st Round Draft Picks vs. NFL Mock Drafts

NFL mock drafts seldom translate to reality come draft day. Here we go retrospective and take a look at the Saints Payton-era 1st round draft picks compared with various mock drafts from 2006 - 2014.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

In  reading up on and analyzing the litany of mock drafts over the past several months, I've tried not to take too much of what's written at face value. Not to discredit draft mockers, because (most of the time) their analyses and therefore selections are pretty much solely informed by the often obvious needs of the 32 teams and the perceived quality of the incoming college players.

It can be thankless work given the outcomes on draft day, but I feel we've reached a collective, implied agreement that this is part and parcel with the torturous lull between the Super Bowl and the regular season.

I recall having done my due diligence in 2013, expecting us to take Barkevious Mingo (who, to be fair, would ultimately be taken 9 picks sooner than I figured), only for us to get Kenny Vaccaro. Then, in 2014, the trade-up and subsequent Brandin Cooks pick at #20 was a definite surprise to many.

Between gross under/overvaluations, inability to predict numerous trades, uncertainty in each team's post-FA big boards, and impressions of players from their Combine and Pro Days, the vetting and selection process can be brutal and is, by it's very nature, clandestine.

With 11 days, 22 hours, 32 minutes and 18...17...16... seconds left until the 2015 NFL Draft, and in keeping with the maddening Mock Draft high jinks with which we have all grown at once accustomed and weary, I decided to have a look at the Saints mock draft selections of years yore and compare them with our actual picks - For posterity's sake.

I pulled some relevant information for each year, but I'll reserve valuations for the community. My only take away is to remind fans to temper their expectations. There are an absurd number of realistic combinations in which the Saints can use their #13 and #31 picks this year, of which likely few people will have made accurate predictions. But that's part of the fun, so just keep doing mock drafts because they're awesome and all that jazz.

Here were my methods/comments for/on the process:

  • Searched "NFL mock draft" using Google advanced search with a specified time range of the 3 months leading up to the eve of the draft – So no actual draft day results were pulled
  • Picked three sites for each year, not using mocks from the same site more than once for a year
  • Props to sites like SBN, Bleacher Report, and Walter Football who’ve maintained indices of all their NFL mock drafts going back to whenever they started – Some other sites either haven’t been doing mocks as long, or they take their mocks down after the fact. I sorta suspect it’s the latter.
  • Results are presented from most recent to Sean Payton's first year as HC in 2006.

Let's start.

2014 – May 8

Saints selected: #20 Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State (trade up with Arizona)

Notable players  selected before: #12 OBJ, #13 Aaron Donald, #16 Zack Martin, #17 C.J. Mosley

Notable players selected after: #21 Haha Clinton-Dix, #27 Kelvin Benjamin, #32 Teddy Bridgewater - Mock Draft 5.0: Jadeveon Clowney, AJ McCarron to Texans

  • Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Bleacher Report - 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Miller’s Final 7-Round Picks

  • Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State (picked #53, Green Bay) - The MMQB Mock Draft: Who Teams Will Select

  • Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State (picked #15, Pittsburgh)

2013 – April 25

Saints selected: #15 Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Notable players selected before: #13 Sheldon Richardson

Notable players selected after: #18 Eric Reid, #20 Kyle Long, #31 Travis Frederick - 2013 NFL Draft: Seven-round mock forecasts every pick, 1 to 254

  • Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia (picked #17, Pittsburgh)

Bleacher Report - 2013 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Miller's Final 7-Round Predictions

  • Jarvis Jones

Pro Football Talk – PFT Final 2013 Mock Draft

  • Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State (picked #25, Minnesota)

2012 – April 26

Saints did not have a 1st -  Traded 2012 1st and 2011 #56 to NE to select Mark Ingram

Notable players in 2012: #1 Andrew Luck, #4 Matt Kalil, #9 Luke Keuchly, #11 Dontari Poe, #15 Bruce Irvin

2011 – April 28

Saints selected: #24: Cam Jordan, DE, Cal

Saints selected: #28: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

Notable players selected before: #1 Cam Newton, #2 Von Miller, #3 Marcell Dareus,  #4 A.J. Green, #5 Patrick Peterson, #6 Julio Jones, #7 Aldon Smith, #11 J.J. Watt, #14 Robert Quinn, #16 Ryan Kerrigan

Notable players selected after:  #30 Muhammad Wilkerson

Bleacher Report - 2011 NFL Mock Draft: Full 7-Round Mock for Every Team

  • Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

Rotoworld - Draft 2011: NFL Mock 2.0

  • Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia (picked #70, Kansas City)

SB Nation - 2011 NFL Mock Draft: Complete First Round Projection With Possible Trades

  • Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

2010 – April 22

Saints selected: #32: Patrick Robinson, CB, FL State

Notable players selected before :  #2 Ndamukong Suh, #3 Gerald McCoy, #14 Earl Thomas, #15 JPP, #24 Dez Bryant

Bleacher Report – The Final 2010 NFL Mock Draft

  • Jerry Hughes, DE/LB, TCU (picked #31, Indianapolis)

ESPN - Bill Simmons – Welcome to the mock draft

  • Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Mizzou (picked #19, Atlanta) - Three-round mock: Expect most interesting draft in years

  • Sean Weatherspoon

2009 April 25

Saints selected: #14: Malcolm Jenkins, CB/FS, Ohio State

Notable players selected before: #1 Matt Stafford, #13 Brian Orakpo

Notable players selected after: #19 Jeremy Maclin, #21 Alex Mack, #22 Percy Harvin, #25 Vontae Davis, #26 Clay Matthews

Peter King: Mock Draft: Who will go where?

  • Malcolm Jenkins

Bleacher Report - 2009 NFL Mock Draft

  • Brian Cushing, OLB, USC (picked #15, Houston)

Walter Football – 2009 NFL Mock Draft: Round One

  • Malcolm Jenkins

2008 – April 26

Saints selected: #7 Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC (NE traded #7 and #164 to NO for #10 and #78)

Notable players before: #1 Jake Long, #3 Matt Ryan

Notable players selected after: #12 Ryan Clady, #18 Joe Flacco, #20 Aqib Talib, #24 Chris Johnson

Bleacher Report – Final 2008 NFL Mock Draft

  • Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU (picked #5, Kansas City)

Fantasy Knuckleheads - Todd McShay's 2008 NFL Mock Draft v4.0 (post via ESPN in discussion board)

  • Keith Rivers, LB, USC (picked #9, Cincinnati)

Walter Football – 2008 Mock Draft: Round One

  • Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy State (picked #11, Buffalo)

2007 – April 28 "The Jamarcus Russell Draft"

Saints selected: #27 Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee

Notable players selected before: #2 Calvin Johnson, #3 Joe Thomas, #7 AP, #11 Patrick Willis, #12 Marshawn Lynch, #14 Darrelle Revis

Notable players selected after: #28 Joe Staley, #29 Ben Grubbs

Football’s Future – 2007 NFL Mock Draft

  • Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas (picked #41, Atlanta)

Bleacher Report – 2007 NFL Mock Draft

  • Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State (picked #34, Buffalo)

Walter Football – 2007 NFL Mock Draft: Round One

  • Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee (picked #16, GB)

2006 – April 29

Saints selected: #2 Reggie Bush, RB, USC

Notable players selected before: #1 Mario Williams

Notable players selected after: #6 Vernon Davis, #8 Donte Whitner, #12 Haloti Ngata, #20 Tamba Hali

(Could literally only find 2)

Walter Football – 2006 NFL Mock Draft: Round One

  • Reggie Bush

Draft King – 2006 NFL Mock Draft

  • Reggie Bush

Now back to your regular scheduled programming... 11 days, 20 hours, 43 minutes, 26...25...24...