Saints By Position: Top 5 offensive guards in franchise history
While the center position is obviously critical in starting every play and while the tackle position is so important, particularly in protecting the blind side of the quarterback, the guard spot is the glue to the offensive line, preventing inside pressure on quarterbacks and wedging holes against massive defensive linemen for running games in the NFL.
The New Orleans Saints have been blessed with many good guards over the course of franchise history.
Here are my top five guards in New Orleans Saints history
1) Jahri Evans
2) Carl Nicks
3) Jim Dombrowski
4) Andrus Peat
5) Brad Edelman/Jake Kupp (tie)
It is hard to believe that 107 players were chosen in the 2006 NFL Draft prior to the New Orleans Saints picking Jahri Evans in the fourth round. He is one of the very best draft picks in franchise history.
Evans was simply brilliant. He will certainly be in the Saints Hall of Fame, when eligible, and should be in the Saints Ring of Honor eventually. In fact, Evans is a legitimate candidate for the Saints Hall of Fame. Along with Willie Roaf, he is one of the top two offensive linemen in franchise history.
In 11 seasons in New Orleans, Evans was a huge part of a Super Bowl championship team and another which reached an NFC championship game.
Evans was an iron man, totally dependable. He started all 16 games in his first seven seasons in the league and did so in nine of his 11 seasons with the Saints. Evans started all 169 games he played in and he ranks 11th all-time in games played for the Saints.
Evans was a complete player, an outstanding run blocker and superb pass protector for Drew Brees. He played in 10 playoff games and amassed six straight Pro Bowl appearances from 2009-14. From 2009-12, he was one of the best, if not the best guard in the NFL, earning first team All-Pro honors all four seasons.
Carl Nicks was the running mate of Evans at guard.
While Nicks only played four seasons in New Orleans, he was simply dominant.
Like Evans, Nicks was drafted in 2008 in the fifth round, another one of the best draft picks in franchise history. A total of 163 picks came off the board before Nicks got the call from the Saints, thankfully.
Like Evans, Nicks became a starter instantly and he started all 16 games in all four of his seasons in New Orleans (64 total). He was brilliant.
Nicks earned NFL All-Rookie team honors in 2008, making his mark immediately. was a huge part of the 2009 season when the Saints won the Super Bowl. He went on to earn second team All-Pro honors in 2010 and was a first team All-Pro in 2011.
Nicks was a mauler, destroying defenders at the point of attack in the run game, perhaps the most physical guard in the NFL, at the time. He was a solid pass blocker as well for Drew Brees. He made the Pro Bowl in both 2010 and 2011.
Nicks was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2017.
Jim Dombrowski was a first round draft pick out of Virginia in 1986, the sixth pick overall.
He was worth the investment.
Like Andrus Peat to follow and like Steve Korte and Joel Hilgenberg, Dombrowski was a versatile player who was asked to play left tackle for the better part of three years before settling in at left guard as a stalwart, playing 11 seasons in the black and gold.
Dombrowski was a very consistent player. He ranks 13th all-time in games played with 151, starting 137 of those.
Dombrowski started all 16 games in five straight seasons from 1988-92 and started all 16 games in eight of his 11 seasons in New Orleans. Jim was an integral part of the first four playoff teams in New Orleans Saints history, a top-flight starter for all of those teams (1987, ‘90, ‘91, ’92)
Dombrowski was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2003.
Andrus Peat was another first round pick of the Saints, the 13th overall in 2015.
Peat has never played all 16 games in his five years with New Orleans but he has been solid and perhaps the most important player on the offensive line.
Peat has proven to be very versatile, playing four of the five offensive line positions (all but center) for New Orleans.
Most importantly, he has answered the call to move out to left tackle for the oft-injured Terron Armstead, really helping his team.
Moving him around perhaps prevented him from growing at his best position, left guard, where he starts when everyone is healthy.
Peat has played in 65 games, starting 60, and he will start many more after agreeing to terms on a 5-year contract extension most recently.
Peat has had just 13 holding calls and eight false start penalties in his five seasons, which is more than acceptable.
Peat has been recognized by his peers, coaches and fans by being named to the Pro Bowl the last two seasons (2018 and 2019).
Brad Edelman was another player that proved to be a very fine player.
A second round pick of the Saints in 1982 (30th overall), Edelman was worth that and more.
Edelman became a fixture at left guard for Bum Phillips immediately, earning a starting job by week seven of his rookie season and he did not relinquish it for eight seasons, aside from injuries. He was named to the NFL All-Rookie team in 1982.
Edelman played in 90 games, starting 87. Injuries prevented him from becoming one of the best in the league as he played every game just once in his eight seasons.
In 1987, Edelman earned Pro Bowl honors on the first team in franchise history to ever post a winning record and the first to make the playoffs.
Jake Kupp is deserving of recognition as well.
An original Saint in 1967, Kupp played eight seasons for the Saints as well, playing in 106 games, starting all but three. Kupp was an excellent tactician, a good athlete who moved well and he earned Pro Bowl honors in 1969.
Kupp was a good acquisition from Atlanta and he would be a thorn in the Falcons’ side for the next eight seasons after arriving in New Orleans.
Kupp was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 1992.
Next up, we will tackle the top five tackles in franchise history.
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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…