Sunday, April 12, 2009

Grading the Saints last 5 drafts

With the NFL draft fast approaching (April 25th is the date), it's time to re-visit how our beloved Saints have fared in the exercise the last 5 years.

2004 Draftees:

1. Will Smith, DE, Ohio St.
2a. Devery Henderson, WR, LSU
2b. Courtney Watson, LB, Notre Dame
5a. Rodney Leisle, DT, UCLA
5b. Mike Karney, FB, Arizona St.
7. Colby Bockwoldt, LB, Bringham Young

Grade: B-

Will Smith and Devery Henderson have both signed extensions in the past couple years and are productive players with prominent roles on the team. Smith was also selected to the Pro Bowl during his fairly solid career to this point. Karney was a fabulous fullback during his tenure with the Saints but was released this off-season before signing with the Rams. Watson, Leisle, and Bockwoldt were largely busts and Leisle is the only one of the trio still in the NFL (Cardinals).

2005 Draftees:

1. Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma
2. Josh Bullocks, FS, Nebraska
3. Alfred Fincher, LB, UConn
4. Chase Lyman, WR, Cal
5. Adrian McPherson, QB, Florida St.
6. Jason Jefferson, DT, Wisconsin
7. Jimmy Verdon, DE, Arizona St.

Grade: D

Brown alone gives this class a passing grade. He's been to a couple Pro Bowls and has been a very solid player for the Saints, anchoring a successful offensive line. The rest of these picks were very very poor. Bullocks lasted till this offseason, leaving the Saints for the Bears, but he was highly inconsistent during his time with the team. Lyman was on injured reserve by his first practice and is no longer in the league. McPherson was a popular choice among fans, but never amounted to anything on the field. Verdon is out of the NFL. Fincher (Redskins) and Jefferson (Falcons) are fighting for their careers.

2006 Draftees:

1. Reggie Bush, HB, USC
2. Roman Harper, S, Alabama
4. Jahri Evans, G, Bloomsburg
5. Rob Ninkovich, DE, Purdue
6a. Mike Hass, WR, Oregon St.
6b. Josh Lay, CB, Pitt
7a. Zach Strief, T, Northwestern
7b. Marques Colston, WR, Hofstra

Grade: A

Bush was an obvious pick to make, but so far he hasn't lived up to the hype. Still, Bush has been a dangerous player and a good addition. Colston and Evans were pure strokes of genius, and they are both bonafide starters. Harper is still a starter, and Strief is a dependable backup. Ninkovich has come and gone, but has a chance to make the team this year. Mike Hass has done little and was released, but is with the Seahawks to date. Lay is out of the league.

2007 Draftees: See this article for more information

Grade: F

2008 Draftees:

1. Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
2. Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana
5a. DeMario Pressley, DT, NC St.
5b. Carl Nicks, G, Nebraska
6. Taylor Mehlhaff, K, Wisconsin
7. Adrian Arrington, WR, Michigan

Grade: B

This grade is tough because we've only had one season to watch them play. Ellis, Porter and Nicks have all cracked the starting lineup and look very good so far. Mehlhaff was a complete disaster. Pressley and Arrington are still on the team, but they are fighting for roster spots this offseason. I reserve the right to change my grade next year.