Top-100 New Orleans Saints of All-Time: 10-1
That question is asked, and those debates happen every day amongst sports fans.
Trying to compare players of a common position and era are tough enough. Once you introduce grouping all positions together, regardless of when they played, what the talent pool was or what the rules were during their NFL careers, the answers get arbitrary.
We combined four sources to come up with our list of the Top-100 New Orleans Saints players of all time. Rankings for all players were averages comprised of contributions from pro-football-reference.com (Twitter: @pfref), Jeremy Trottier of the canalstreetchronicles.com (Twitter @ClutchWDN), Billy Gunn of the ‘Taking the Over with Billy Gunn’ Podcast (Twitter & Instagram: @takingtheover) and John Butler of canalstreetchronicles.com and the Saintjohnbutler YouTube channel (Twitter & Instagram: @Saintjohnbutler).
This is our list of New Orleans Saints 10-1:
10: Wayne Martin, DE (1989-2000)
The Saints have done well with a good amount of the first-round draft choices throughout their history and Martin was certainly no exception. A lifetime Saint, Martin still ranks top-3 in team history in sacks. An All-Pro in 1992 and a Pro Bowler in 1994, Martin amassed 82.5 sacks and a dozen forced fumbles. He also started in every game for 11-straight seasons. Martin is a Saints’ Hall of Famer as well.
9: Morten Andersen, K (1982-1994)
The first Pro Football Hal of Famer on our list, the ‘Great Dane’ held the NFL record for most points scored when he retired. The list of accolades Andersen achieved is incredible and includes 6-time All Pro, 7-time Pro Bowler, All-Decade Team of both the 80’s and 90’s, Saints’ Ring of Honor and Saints’ Hall of Fame as well as several other Hall of Fame awards. Andersen was consistent in the long and short game and was a lethal weapon during the Mora years.
8: Eric Martin, WR (1985-1993)
A steal as a 7th-round draft choice out of LSU, Martin became a prototypical number one receiver for the Saints during the Hebert years. While he didn’t have mind-numbing speed, Martin used his size and route running to create separation. He turned those skills into over 8,000 receiving yards, Pro Bowl honors and a nomination into the Saints’ Hall of Fame.
7: Pat Swilling, LB (1986-1992)
The second member of the Dome Patrol to make the list, Swilling was the pass-rushing specialist of the group. Fast around the edge and a long wingspan, Swilling was known by teammate Sam Mills as “Sackman”. An obvious Saints’ Hall of Famer, Swilling was also an NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 4-time All-Pro, 5-time Pro Bowler and also led the NFL in sacks in 1991 with an eye-popping 17.0 sacks. Swilling is deserving of a Pro Football Hall of Fame nomination, having better sack numbers than several players currently enshrined.
6: Sam Mills, LB (1986-1994)
Jim Mora called him the best player he ever coached (and Mora coached Peyton Manning, Rickey Jackson and many other elite players). Mills is the third member of the Dome Patrol on the list and acted as a “coach on the field”. The Saints took a shot on him out of the USFL, and all he did was amass a career as a 3-time All Pro member, 5-time Pro Bowler, Carolina Panther Hall of Honor member, Saints’ Ring of Honor member, Saints’ Hall of Famer and now a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
5: Jahri Evans, G (2006-2015, 2016)
Like Mills, Evans was another gem from a small school. An absolute bargain as a fourth-round selection, Evans piled up countless achievements from All-Pro awards to Pro Bowls and eventually a Super Bowl Championship. Evans was one of the most versatile guards in league history, having the toughness for interior pass blocking and the speed to get outside for second level run blocking. He also started every game he ever played in. Evans is a Saints’ Hall of Famer and will also most likely find his bust in Canton eventually.
4: Marques Colston, WR (2006-2015)
The third player in a row from a small school, Colston put together a remarkable career and currently sits as the Saints’ all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. A Super Bowl Champion and Saints’ Hall of Famer, Colston was described by NFL Coach John Gruden as the greatest player in NFL history to never be elected to a Pro Bowl. The “Quiet Storm” was a true professional and well respected; a refreshing change from the prototypical attention-seeking wide receiver.
3: Willie Roaf, T (1993-2001)
The third member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on our list, Roaf was simply an immovable object. The 6’5” 320-pound offensive tackle was an incredible pass blocker and could also move the pile for the running backs behind him. Incredibly accomplished, Roaf spent 14 seasons in the NFL dominating opposing defenders and piling up awards in the process. A nine-time All Pro Award winner and 11-time Pro Bowler, Roaf was respected by fans, players and coaches alike. Roaf is also on the NFL All-Decade Team for both the 1990’s and 2000’s, is a Saints’ Ring of Honor member and a Saints’ Hall of Famer as well.
2: Rickey Jackson, LB (1981-1993)
The fourth and final member of the Dome Patrol. Also, the fourth and final member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (that is, until the next guy on the list gets in). Teammate Pat Swilling described Jackson as “The Hammer”. When a play needed to be made, the defense looked to Jackson. Jackson was an unstoppable talent at linebacker; the type of linebacker you game plan around. All-Pro Awards? Five. Pro Bowl Honors? Six. Jackson actually led the NFL in forced fumbles 4 times and also leads the Saints all-time in sacks. Jackson also became a Super Bowl Champion with the rival San Francisco 49ers after he left New Orleans. New Orleans has also added Jackson to both the Saints’ Hall of fame and Saints’ Ring of Honor.
1: Drew Brees, QB (2006-2020)
I mean, what do you say about Drew Brees that hasn’t already been said. The addition of Brees simply changed the course of the franchise forever, delivering New Orleans their first and only Super Bowl Championship and shattering countless passing records in the process. A certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, Brees will enjoy a whirlwind of career accolades now that he has retired. Brees was simply an electric passer, remarkably accurate and stacked NFL record-breaking numbers in virtually every measured passing category.