Measuring Saints 2023 draft against best in franchise history
There will be always be hits and misses.
For many years, the New Orleans Saints echoed the sentiment of Phil Collins and “I Missed Again” when it came to the NFL Draft.
Occasionally, the sentiment of Pat Benatar and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” resonated.
The bad drafts are plentiful and too many to detail.
The good drafts are clear.
The elite drafts are obvious.
Though it is way too premature to judge the 2023 draft, the Saints clearly did a solid job and have a promising, if not very promising current class moving forward.
The fact that all seven draft picks made the initial 53-man roster is encouraging, compelling, promising.
In 2004, all six draft picks played for the Saints, including Saints Hall of Fame inductees Will Smith and Devery Henderson along with Courtney Watson, Rodney Leisle, Mike Carney and Colby Bockwoldt. Having two Saints Hall of Fame inductees from the same draft class made that class special.
In 1997, all seven draft picks ended up playing in games for the Saints, though former LSU tight end Nicky Savoie only played in one game and the others chosen were nominal contributors.
All 10 picks in the 1982 draft ended up playing at least one game for New Orleans. The best pick that year was Morten Andersen, chosen in the fourth round, who is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Saints Ring of Honor and the Saints Hall of Fame.
The 1993 draft produced eventual Saints Hall of Fame inductees William Roaf and Tyrone Hughes.
The 1980 draft netted Stan Brock and Dave Waymer, both of whom became Saints Hall of Fame inductees.
The 1972 draft included Tommy Myers and Joe Federspiel, both members of the Saints Hall of Fame.
The 1971 draft featured future Saints Hall of Fame inductees Archie Manning and Bob Pollard. Manning is also in the Saints Ring of Honor.
The best drafts in Saints history, in any particular order, occurred in 1981, 1986 and 2017.
You can argue that the 1986 draft is the best in franchise history.
With Jim Finks and Jim Mora on board for their initial season, the duo combined with the scouting department to reap a harvest of superb players, including Jim Dombrowski, Dalton Hilliard, Rueben Mayes and Pat Swilling, all of whom have been inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame.
Many would maintain, with good reason, that the 1981 draft was the best ever.
The Saints secured a hall of superb players, including George Rogers, Rickey Jackson, Frank Warren, Hoby Brenner and Jim Wilks, all of whom were inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame.
Most recently, the 2017 draft restocked and rejuvenated Sean Payton’s Saints, helping the team return to the playoffs that season for the first time since 2013 and to make the playoffs four consecutive times.
That draft included Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk, Marcus Williams, Alvin Kamara, Alex Anzalone, Trey Hendrickson and Al-Quadin Muhammad.
All are still playing in the league with Lattimore, Ramczyk and Kamara starring for the Saints. All three are on a path to the Saints Hall of Fame.
Williams starts for Baltimore, Anzalone starts for Detroit, Hendrickson stars for Cincinnati and Muhammad plays for the Colts.
Entering the 2023 season, Bryan Bresee, Isaiah Foskey, Kendre Miller, Nick Saldiveri, Jake Haener, Jordan Howden and A.T. Perry are all on the active roster.
Will any emerge as stars and future Saints Hall of Fame caliber performers?
Dennis Allen is surely banking on that being the case with Bresee, at the very least.
The draft remains the bedrock of establishing and maintaining consistent, long-term success in the NFL.
Upon first glance, it appears the Saints have done a nice job this year.
Let’s hope the second and third glance and the second and third years reveal the same, echoing the words of the Eagles, “you can go the distance, you’ll find out in the long run.” For now, we will settle for short-term success.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…