New Orleans Saints: Grading and Reviewing the 2006 Through 2010 NFL Drafts

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Over the last five years the Saints have experienced the most success in their franchise history. They have won a superbowl and they are routinely in the playoffs and in the race for the Superbowl. Is it because of how well they have drafted? Let’s take a look

2006 NFL Draft

1st round: Reggie Bush, RB, USC

2nd round: Roman Harper, S, Alabama

4th round: Jahri Evans, G, Bloomsburg

5th round: Rob Ninkovich, DE, Purdue

6th round: Mike Haas, WR, Oregon State and Josh Lay, CB, Pittsburgh

7th round: Zach Strief, T, Northwestern and Marques Colston,  WR, Hofstra

No longer in the league: Josh Lay

No longer on the Saints: Rob Ninkovich (New England Patriots, and Mike Haas Seattle Seahawks). Ninkovich had a nice little year with the New England Patriots. He had 10 sacks last year and four sacks and 62tackles.

Zach Streif is a guard now with the New Orleans Saints. He started two games last year and played in fourteen games. He’s started 2 games last year and one game in each every other season he’s been in the league.

The 7th round pick of Marques Colston was an excellent pick. He’s been the number one wide receiver for the Saints the past few years. Last year he had 84 receptions for 1023 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has 40 overall touchdowns since 2006 and four seasons with over a 1,000 yards receiving. In 2008, he had less than a 1,000 yards receiving, but he only played in 11 games and started  due to injuries.

4th round pick Jahri Evans was another excellent pick. Evans has become one of the top interior offensive linemen in the entire league.  The 6’4 318 pound offensive linemen has started all 80 games over the last five years. You don’t get much better value than that in the fourth round.

Roman Harper was drafted in the second round and has also started every game he’s played with the Saints a total of 67  games over the last five years. He has 9.5 sacks, but only four interceptions. He’s not a premiere ballhawk, but he’s a solid starting strong safety.

And then there is Reggie Bush. Bush has had trouble staying completely healthy and hasn’t put up the numbers people expected him to when he was drafted, but he’s arguably been much more effective than his stats would indicate. Bush is one of the most dynamic players in the entire league and must be accounted for on every play, which is not something every team can have from a player out of the backfield. He is great out of the backfield and has almost 300 career receptions in 60 games.

Draft Grade: A-

I think if Bush was the player they expected them to be he could be this draft would be a solid A/A+. Jahri Evans and Marques Colston were excellent picks and couldn’t have turned out much better. Bush and Harper were very solid picks. I think Bush’s impact has been greater than his numbers would be indicate. Roman Harper is a very solid starter. A few years ago Harper looked like he could emerge as one of the top young safeties in the league, he hasn’t quite become that, but he’s still a solid player.

Bills fans take note: One really good draft coupled with an improvement at quarterback can lead to good things so hope’s not yet lost.


1st round: Robert Meachem, WR, Tennesee

3rd round: Usama Young, CB, Kent State and Andy Alleman, G, Akron

4th round: Antonio Pittman, RB, Ohio State and Jermon Bushrod, T, Towson

5th round: David Jones, CB, Wingate

7th round: Marvin Mitchell, LB, Tennessee

No longer in the N.F.L. Andy Alleman, Antonio Pitman

No longer on the Saints: David Jones

Marvin Mitchell played in all 16 games last year registering 43 tackles and a sack. He’s more of a depth/special teams guy than a reserve starter.

Usama Young played in 11 games last year starting in 3. In four years, Young has 3 INT and a sack.

Jermon Bushrod has developed into a starter for the New Orleans Saints. He’s started 30 games over the past two seasons. That’s pretty good value for a fourth round pick.

Many people questioned the pick of Robert Meachem in the 2007 N.F.L. draft, and so far seem to be right. While Meachem does bring a nice dynamic to the New Orleans offense has a deep threat (averaging 16.3 yards per reception) and 17 touchdowns in his young career. He can get deep, but he’s yet to have even 80 yards receiving in a season.

Grade C-

This draft is not very impressive. There are not true big time impact players, though anytime you can find a quality starting offensive linemen is a good thing. If Meachem ever breaks out and becomes  a consistent playmaker this grade could move up.


1st round: Sedric Ellis, DT, USC

2nd round: Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana

5th round: DeMario Pressley, DT, North Carolina State and Carl Nicks, G, Nebraska

6th round: Taylor Mehlhaff, K, Wisconsin

7th round: Adrian Arrington, WR, Michigan

No longer in the league: Taylor Mehlhaff

No longer on the Saints: DeMario Pressley

Adrian Arrington provides the Saints with some depth and might have an opportunity to make plays elsewhere, where the team doesn’t have such tremendous WR depth. This was the first year he was on the active roster. He had one game but 7 catches for 79 yards. It’ll be interesting to see what happens moving forward.

Another draft, another quality offensive linemen found later in the draft. The New York Giants are well known for finding quality offensive linemen later in the draft and being able to coach them up to be successful N.F.L. linemen. Clearly though the same should be thought of from the Saints. Nicks was another great pick by the Saints.

Tracy Porter has been a bit uneven, but I feel like he’s made some huge play in his career. Against the Colts or something?  Anyway, Porter had only one interception last year, after having 4 in 2009. He’s not a great player, but he’s still young and is a solid N.F.L. Starter. He’s started 23 games the last two years.

The headliner of this draft is the big man in the middle of the Saints defense. Ellis was drafted very highly and the Saints moved up a bit for him I believe. He’s one of the finest young defensive tackles in all of football. Last year he managed 6 sacks from the defensive tackle spot which is very good. He also 9 career passes defensed and six other career sacks. Good pick by the Saints. Only Suh, Tommy Kelley, and B.J. Raji had more sacks from the interior of the defensive line last year.

Draft Grade: B-

A solid draft by the Saints. It lacks the depth you want from each draft class, but they did end up with three starters in Ellis, Porter, and Carl Nicks. The Saints have done a good job with their roster moves since 2006 and this is just one more year of quality work done by the front office.

2009 and 2010 continued on the next page.