The New Orleans Saints will open their 2017 regular season only 77 days from now, against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. Canal Street Chronicles continues our own countdown to kickoff, with a look at some of the Saints players that have donned the No. 77.
Willie Roaf (OT, 1993-2001)
The Saints certainly had high expectations when they drafted Roaf with the 8th overall pick in the 1st round of the 1993 draft, a pick that was obtained when New Orleans traded Pro Bowl linebacker Pat Swilling to the Detroit Lions. What they got in return was a future Pro Football Hall of Fame player that was the face of a franchise for nine seasons.
Roaf would miss only three of a possible 128 starts over his first eight seasons in New Orleans, often being the shining star on a team that struggled into the late 1990s. He was considered by many to be the best offensive tackle in the game, making 7 straight Pro Bowls at one point, including two 1st team All-Pro nods.
After an injury-plagued 2001, Roaf was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he would go on to play four more Pro Bowl seasons before announcing his retirement in the '06 offseason. Roaf was voted to the NFL's All-Decade teams of both the 1990s and 2000s, elected to the Saints Hall of Fame in 2008, and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Truly one of the most decorated players in Saints history.
Carl Nicks (OG, 2008-2011)
The Saints selected Nicks in the 5th round of the 2008 draft from Nebraska. The talented offensive lineman surprised most almost immediately, starting 13 games as a rookie and earning a place on the 2008 NFL All-Rookie Team. Often recognized as one of the league's best interior lineman, Nicks started all 48 of the New Orleans games between 2009-11; earning his first Pro Bowl berth in 2010, and All-Pro recognition the following season.
He was a vital part of the Saints record-breaking offensive attack that won a Super Bowl championship in the 2009 season. Nicks departed New Orleans after 2011, signing a lucrative free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately, injuries and health issues limited Nicks to only nine games in two years with the Bucs, and brought an end to his career in 2014. Carl Nicks is recognized as one of the best offensive linemen in New Orleans history, and was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame this year.
Brodrick Bunkley (DT, 2012-2014)
Bunkley played his first five years with the Philadelphia Eagles after they selected him in the 1st round of the 2006 draft. After a one-year stint with Denver, he joined the Saints as a free agent prior to the 2012 season. He was never known for lofty statistics, but what Bunkley did bring to the Saints was a run stopping presence and a nasty demeanor to the defensive line.
This was particularly evident in 2013, when the New Orleans defense ranked 4th in points allowed on their way to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. Bunkley started 36 games in three years with the Saints, but never recovered from a leg injury suffered at the end of the 2014 season, an injury that would bring an end to his career.
Other Saints players that have worn the No. 77: Ray Rissmiller (1967), Jim Boeke (1968), Mike Taylor (1969-70), Dan Goich (1971), Carl Johnson (1972-73), Chris Morris (1975), Marv Montgomery (1976-77), Gary Anderson (1978), Jerry Boyarsky (1981), Daren Gilbert (1985-88), Rodney Leisle (2005-06), Mike McGlynn (2015), D.J. Pettway (2016), John Fullington (present)
Who was your favorite Saints player to wear No. 77?
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