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Top 5 Worst Draft Picks- New Orleans Saints

Updated on May 3, 2015

These guys were brought in to help the team win, but couldn't accomplish anything on the field. Today I rank the top five worst draft picks by the New Orleans Saints.

5. Archie Manning

I know what you're thinking. Archie Manning was the only player making the Saints relevant for years. How could he possibly land on this list? The fact is in hindsight, the Saints could have got much more.

A first round pick in 1971, Archie Manning was the New Orleans offense for a long time. He was usually one of the few marquee players on a dreadful team. During his tenure in New Orleans, the Saints had nine losing seasons. They only managed to get to .500 once which was also the only season they finished higher than third in their division. Nevertheless, he was well respected by NFL peers. In 1972, Manning led the league in pass attempts and completions and led the NFC in passing yards. He ended his 13 year career having completed 2,011 of 3,642 passes for 23,911 yards and 125 touchdowns. Manning spent his final seasons in Houston and Minnesota before retiring in 1984. He was a two time pro bowler and the 1978 NFC offensive player of the year.

Looking back on history, New Orleans had many holes to fill in 1971. Manning was a great athlete at Ole Miss, but he wasn't exactly a can't miss talent. The Saints could have chosen an offensive lineman to protect a later-round quarterback project, or even Hall of Fame running back John Riggins to make any quarterback's job easier. Since he never lived up to his high draft selection, and never posted elite stats. And while the 1971 draft wasn't loaded with quarterback talent, there were a number of other options to be had in later rounds such as Lynn Dickey or Ken Anderson, both of which had better career numbers than Manning.

4. George Rogers

He started strong, but soon fizzled out.

During his time at South Carolina, George Rogers established himself as the premier running back in school history. His 5,204 yards is still the highest career total by any Gamecock running back and his 31 rushing touchdowns is tied for second in school history. In 1980, Rogers led the nation in rushing while helping the Gamecocks to an 8-3 and winning the Heisman trophy.

Rogers was selected first overall in 1981. While he led the league in rushing as a rookie and was named to the pro bowl, he soon fizzled out and was never able to capture the same level of talent the rest of his career and was replaced by aging Hall of Famer Earl Campbell. He went on to play three seasons in Washington and won a Super Bowl as a backup.

3. Reggie Bush

He was drafted high, but was nothing more than a contributor for New Orleans.

At USC, Reggie Bush was seen as the most electrifying football player since Gale Sayers. In 2005, he amassed 2,611 all-purpose yards and scored 18 touchdowns while winning both the Doak Walker Award and the Heisman trophy.

Bush was selected second overall in 2006. When you draft someone second overall, you expect them to be an every down player. Reggie Bush was not that. In his five seasons with the team, he never rushed for more than 600 yards in a season. He was a nice receiver out of the backfield as well as a great return specialist, but not worth the second overall pick in a draft.

2. Ricky Williams

Mike Ditka was willing to trade away all of his draft picks for this guy.

At Texas, Ricky Williams seen as the second coming of Earl Campbell. He holds or shares 20 NCAA records and was a two time Doak Walker Award winner and the 1998 Heisman trophy winner.

In 1999, The Saints traded away all of their draft picks and two 2000 draft picks to Washington so they could draft Williams at five. The result was not pretty. Ditka was fired at the end of the season after posting a 3-13 record. All in all, Williams accumulated 3,129 yards and 16 touchdowns in three years with the Saints. He did help the Saints win their first playoff game as a franchise in 2001, but the handicap he put on this team lasted years, which is why he lands here.

1. Jonathan Sullivan

The Saints made the same mistake they made with Ricky Williams and paid the price.

At Georgia, Jonathan Sullivan manned the middle of the Bulldogs defensive line.

Sullivan was picked sixth overall in 2003. New Orleans had two first round picks in 2003 after they traded Ricky Williams to Miami. Instead of drafting two quality players, the Saints traded away both picks to jump up and take Sullivan. He amassed just 1.5 sacks and 77 tackles in three years with the team. This was the team's opportunity to rebuild following the first Ricky Williams trade, and they blew it.

People's Poll

Which Saint was the worst draft pick?

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    • profile image

      Kevin Goodwin 

      3 years ago

      Williams couldn't even do a press conference correctly.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      I never would've put Manning on this list. He was the only athlete on a terrible team.


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