The 2023 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching, so what better time than now to take a look at draft history.
The New Orleans Saints have made some historically good moves and some historically bad ones. Let’s take a look at both:
Best Draft Class: 2017
The 2017 Draft class was special. New Orleans had a plan to go get their QB of the future with Patrick Mahomes, but the Kansas City Chiefs swiped him at the #10 spot, one pick before the Saints. So Mickey Loomis had to shift gears to the backup plan very quickly and drafted Marshon Lattimore out of Ohio State.
The Ohio Star pipeline started the season before when the Saints drafted Michael Thomas in the second round (that worked out, right?). Lattimore brought a shutdown corner ability to New Orleans and instantly became a key piece of the Saints’ defense. New Orleans also drafted Ryan Ramcyzk, Marcus Williams, Trey Hendrickson, and a running back by the name of Alvin Kamara. With 3 of the 5 players still being integral pieces for the Saints and the other two should’ve never left, it’s safe to say that this is the best draft in franchise history.
Worst Draft Class: 2018
From top to bottom, this draft class was full of poor decisions.
New Orleans traded up to take Marcus Davenport in the first round (no longer with the team), Tre’Quan Smith in the third (hasn’t produced), Rick Leonard (who?), Natrell Jameson (not here), Kamrin Moore (not here), Boston Scott (having success elsewhere), and Will Clapp (not here). Of those seven selections, only one is still in New Orleans and has been very mediocre (Smith).
At the time, the decisions didn’t seem too wrong because of just how good the Saints were, but now that things have fallen, you’re starting to see just how poor that draft really was.
Best Draft Pick: Deuce McAllister
Deuce McAllister was drafted in the first round by New Orleans in the 2001 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss. During his career that spanned 8 seasons, Deuce ran for 6,096 yards and 49 touchdowns. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in half of his seasons and was the heartbeat of the Saints organization during the Katrina years alongside Drew Brees.
McAllister also played a crucial part of the 2009 Super Bowl run, being a member of the team for moral support and guidance.
There have been many great selections for the Saints (Rickey Jackson, Willie Roaf, Archie, Marques Colston, Cam Jordan, etc.) but there aren’t many that had the impact Deuce did on this organization.
Worst Draft Pick: Johnathan Sullivan
Sullivan was drafted #6 overall in 2003 out of the University of Georgia. He was a monster defensive tackle in the SEC and the Saints were so high on him, they drafted him over future HOFers Troy Polamalu and Terrell Suggs. Also, Willis McGahee and Dallas Clark were taken later in that first round.
Sullivan turned out to be a massive disappointment for New Orleans, only getting 57 tackles in three seasons with the Black & Gold before ending his career at the age of 24. Talk about a reach.
Either way you look at it, the Saints have made some really great draft choices and some really poor ones. However, the good outweighs the bad here.
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