The Junior Galette extension. The massive Jairus Byrd contract. The Darren Sproles trade.
There are plenty of moves the New Orleans Saints organization probably regrets in hindsight. What move would be atop that list for the Saints in the past decade, though? Bleacher Report gave their opinion, listing each NFL team’s biggest mistake of the past decade. For some teams it was a draft pick, for others a free agent signing, some were trades, some were hirings, and some were even delayed firings. For the Saints, it was passing on Linebacker Jerod Mayo in the 2008 NFL Draft:
[I]t's also fair to wonder what the future would have looked like with linebacker Jerod Mayo on their defense instead of first-round bust defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis.
That's what the trade between the Saints and Patriots became when New Orleans moved up to the No. 7 spot in 2008 to take Ellis, and the Patriots selected Mayo at No. 10. Mayo went on to become a solid run-stuffing linebacker until his career was cut short because of injuries.
Ellis, meanwhile, faded out of the league after only five seasons and 12.5 sacks.
Mayo had two Pro Bowl years, 2010 and 2012, finishing with a whopping 114 tackles in his 2010 First Team All Pro year. He was also a member of the Super Bowl XLIX Champion Patriots, although he only played in 6 games in that 2014 season.
It’s hard to argue that the Saints whiffed on the trade up for Sedrick Ellis, but Jonathan Vilma and Curtis Lofton were both above-average players for the Saints at Linebacker during Mayo’s career. Yes, the Saints would have preferred not to trade up for Ellis, but maybe they should have stuck at 10th overall and selected CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or CB Aqib Talib, both of whom would have been available for the Saints instead of Mayo. Or maybe they should have drafted on offense, with a player like WR Jordy Nelson or WR DeSean Jackson. Could you imagine either in the Saints offense?
But what says you? What do you think would be the Saints biggest mistake of the past decade? Do you agree about the Saints passing on Mayo as the #1 mistake of the team? Tell us in the comments. Maybe we’ll look back and it will be the Stephone Anthony selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. Or maybe it will be the Brandin Cooks trade, but let’s hope not.