With the NFL draft approaching at the end of this month, teams are hopeful that they select the right mix of players that can potentially change their franchise’s fortune. That one special draft class can solidify a team’s aspiration to be contenders year in and year out. Teams want a draft class as special as the New Orleans Saints 2017 class.
Pro Football Focus took the time out to evaluate the best draft class since 2015 and all Saints fans would have to agree with the findings:
Looking at this draft class, they absolutely knocked the first four picks out of the park. They selected Marshon Lattimore 11th overall in the first round. He’s done nothing but win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, get selected to 3 Pro-Bowls, and is widely regarded as a top shutdown cornerback in this league.
The Saints followed that up by drafting Ryan Ramczyk 32nd in the first round. Ramczyk has been a stud and is easily a top 3 right tackle in the league. Since he entered in 2017, he has been a second team All-Pro selection twice and was named to the first team in 2018. He has solidified what most consider a top tier offensive line.
The Saints continued their draft success by taking Marcus Williams in the 2nd round with the 42nd pick. While a lot of casuals may only equate Williams with the “Minneapolis Miracle” play in his rookie season, what most don’t remember is that he was voted on the Pro Football Weekly All Rookie team for his solid play. That consistent play has remained the last three years which is why the Saints franchised him this past offseason so they can lock him up long term in the future.
The next draft selection the team made needs no introduction. He is simply one of the most dynamic players in the NFL and it absolutely looks criminal the fact the Saints were able to draft him in the third round. He won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, has made the Pro Bowl every year he has been in the league, and has made the All-Pro team twice. He has tied the NFL record for rushing touchdowns in a game (6) and the list of NFL running backs to have at least 500 yards both rushing and receiving in each of their first four seasons goes like this.
Alvin Kamara...........end of list.
I think we know the trajectory he is on
Most TD scored over first 4 seasons of a player's career— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) April 9, 2021
1. Terrell Davis* 61
2. LaDainian Tomlinson* 60
3. ALVIN KAMARA 59
4. Marcus Allen* 58@A_kamara6 is on a special track for the @Saints.
*Hall of Famer pic.twitter.com/PgRoQwWZVN
The rest of the draft class didn’t make a sustained impact like the first four guys but showed value nonetheless. Alex Anzalone has been a starter at LB and on special teams. Trey Hendrickson had a breakout season with 13.5 sacks last year and landed a massive deal with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason. The only drafted player that didn’t start at some point or even get significant playing time was their sixth round pick Al-Quadin Muhammad. The Saints waived him the next season. He has found playing time recently with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Saints would love to duplicate the efforts from 2017 in this upcoming draft. Drafting impactful players like those would set the team up nicely to compete for years to come. Tell us what you think about the 2017 draft class for the Saints. Do you think they have a chance to become one of the best draft classes of all time?
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