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Who are the Saints best drafts pick in each round since Mickey Loomis took over?

With the NFL Draft approaching, let’s take a look at the best player drafted in each round in the Mickey Loomis era.

2011 NFL Draft Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Since Mickey Loomis was promoted from Director of Football Administration to General Manager of the New Orleans Saints in 2002, he has completely turned the trajectory the team around. Whether it was free agent signings or draft picks, he turned the Saints into one of the most successful franchises in the 2000’s. With the 2023 NFL Draft rapidly approaching, we’re going to take a look back at the some of the Saints best draft picks in each round since Loomis took over.

NFL: APR 26 2018 NFL Draft Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

First Round: Cam Jordan, Edge, California

I had this list narrowed down to two Saints greats, Cam Jordan and Mark Ingram. Ironically, both of these guys were both drafted in 2011. I really hate leaving Ingram off this list because he’s a fan favorite and the Saints leading rusher in yards and touchdowns, but because he left for a few years, I have to go with Cam Jordan.

Since being drafted in 2011, Jordan has been one of the premier edge rushers in the entire league. He not only has the most sacks in Saints history with 115.5, but he has the second most sacks of any active player, trailing only Von Miller. In week 10 of the 2022 season, Jordan missed his first ever game due to an injury, snapping his 172-game ironman streak.

Jordan has also done so much for the New Orleans community since coming to the boot. He was selected by the organization as the Saints nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2017 and 2021 for his work in the community. Every Saints fan loves Cam, and even when he retires, he will still be a fan favorite in New Orleans.

Honorable mention goes to the late Will Smith. Smith was a first-round pick in 2014 and posted 67.5 sacks in his nine seasons in New Orleans. Smith passed away at 34 years old in 2016. He will forever be remembered by his teammates and Saints fans for his contributions on and off the field. Smith became one of seven players inducted into the Saints Ring of Honor in 2019.

Second Round: Roman Harper, DB, Alabama

This was one of the hardest decisions on this list. There are guys such as Roman Harper, Tracey Porter and others who were vital to the Super Bowl run. There are also young stars such as Michael Thomas, Pete Werner and Alonte Taylor who look to be big pieces for this team for the future. Ultimately, I had to go with one of the best DBs in Saints history, Roman Harper.

Harper played nine seasons in New Orleans and was one of the leaders in the secondary during the Saints Super Bowl run. While Tracey Porter gets a lot of the hype for his clutch pick-six in the Super Bowl (and rightfully so), Harper was silently one of the best players on defense that game. He logged a team high eight tackles and a pass defense en route to the franchise's first Super Bowl.

Outside of his rookie season in 2006, Harper missed just nine games in his eight seasons for the Saints. He recorded seven picks in his career and tallied over 90 tackles in five seasons. Harper is forever enshrined in Saints history with his induction into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2021.

Third Round: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

This choice was a little more straight forward. While guys like Jimmy Graham and Terron Armstead were other solid options, Kamara has no doubt been one of the most productive and exciting players in Saints history in just six seasons in the league.

Kamara already ranks third in rushing yards and second in touchdowns in Saints history. Before Drew Brees retired, Kamara was a touchdown magnet, posting double digit touchdowns in three of his first four seasons. Brees and Payton knew exactly how to utilize Kamara out of the backfield, using screens, option routes and outside handoffs to get him in open space.

Unfortunately, we have seen his production dip since Brees retired and Payton left, but there’s no doubt in my mind he can return to his 2020 form where he scored 21 total touchdowns.

Fourth Round: Jahri Evans, OG, Bloomsburg

This was the battle of offensive linemen. Jermon Bushrod and Jahri Evans were drafted in back-to-back years. Both were solid offensive linemen in their tenure with the Saints, but I think it’s pretty clear that Evans deserves a spot on this list over Bushrod.

Evans played in New Orleans for ten seasons from 2006-2016, and in eight of those seasons, he started every game. He was one of the most dependable guards in the league, and he helped keep future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees upright through most of his career. Evans was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2021 alongside fore mentioned Roman Harper.

Fifth Round: Thomas Morstead, Punter, Southern Methodist

The fifth round hasn’t been very good to the Saints. The only other names on this list worth mentioning are Carl Nicks and Rob Ninkovich. Obviously, Ninkovich went on to be a key player for the New England Patriots from 2009-2016, but I don’t think he deserves a spot on this list as he only played just one season for the Saints. Nicks on the other hand, was a two time Pro Bowler for the Saints, but he played just four seasons with the team before moving on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Although he’s a punter, Morstead was a fan favorite for years in New Orleans. After 11 seasons with the Saints, both sides decided to part ways following the 2020 season. In his time in New Orleans, he was amongst the league's best punters in net yardage every year and was a Pro Bowler in 2012. Off the field, Morstead was nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2014 for his charity work benefiting kids with cancer.

Hopefully one day, we will see Morstead inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame because he earned it on and off the field.

Sixth Round: Landon Young, OT, Kentucky

Much like the fifth round, the sixth has been especially brutal to the Saints. The only player that the Saints drafted in the sixth round that made at least one start in the Mickey Loomis era is Landon Young.

Young has appeared in 26 games in two seasons, starting in just three games for New Orleans. In 2022 he played 21% of the Saints offensive snaps and appeared in every game. Although Loomis has been a notoriously good drafter, the sixth round hasn’t been his forte.

Seventh Round: Marques Colston, WR, Hofstra

The two best seventh round picks for the Saints both came in 2007. Between Marques Colston and Zach Strief, there was no wrong decision with this pick. Strief and Jahri Evans combined to be one of the best offensive line duos in the NFL through their Saints careers, but Marques Colston is the Saints best receiver ever, and it isn’t particularly close.

Colston played all ten seasons of his career with the Saints, finishing with 9,759 receiving yards in his career, the most in Saints history by nearly 2,000 yards. His 72 touchdowns also are the most in franchise history, 22 more than Joe Horn who is second on the list.

Year in and year out, Colston was Brees’ go to receiver. In the Super Bowl, he had a team high seven catches for 83 yards. Colston was inducted in the Saints Hall of Fame and will forever be one of, if not the best seventh round picks in NFL history.

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