Draft Grader: New Orleans Saints

The coaching situation has received most of the attention lately, but the Saints drafting from 2008-10 is also noteworthy. Khaled Elsayed addresses just how well they've done.

| 4 years ago

Draft Grader: New Orleans Saints

In case you haven’t noticed we’ve been going back over the 2008, 2009, and 2010 draft class of each franchise and assigning each pick a grade. Up next? Well that’s the New Orleans Saints.

Each pick between the 2008 and 2010 draft classes a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:

• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for

Let’s take a look at how New Orleans drafted.


+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round

No need with Drew Brees on the roster.


+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!

Carl Nicks, G (164th overall pick in 2008): Just how does a player as talented as Nicks fall to the 164th pick of any draft? A starter since Day 1, and a fine one at that, Nicks has picked up an incredible +126.0 grade in his four years with the Saints. He has simply been the best guard in the league over that period of time.

Jimmy Graham, TE (95th overall pick in 2010): A true difference-making tight end, Graham was a complete mismatch that defenses were unable to cope with in 2011. He wasn’t quite as dominant in 2012 with drops proving an issue (due to a bad wrist) but there are few players as scary as Graham in the league.


+1.0: The scouts nailed it!

They’ll settle for two +1.5’s.


+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor

Thomas Morstead, P (164th overall pick in 2009): If you’re going to draft a punter, it needs to be a good one. The Saints achieved that, getting a guy who also has one of the league’s top kick-off legs. He has also finished in the Top 10 of our punter rankings the past three years.


0.0: It could have been worse

Tracy Porter, CB (40th overall pick in 2008): He’ll always have that Super Bowl interception, but Porter never really delivered on the potential and promise he showed. There were good times, but it’s telling that the Saints were happy for him to go after he earned a demotion in 2011.

DeMario Pressley, DT (144th overall pick in 2008): A total of 187 snaps isn’t a great return on a fifth-round pick who spent time on injured reserve and the practice squad before the Saints cut their losses.

Adrian Arrington, WR (237th overall pick in 2008): The former seventh rounder got on the field with the team sparingly until being released at the start of the 2012 season.

Matt Tennant, C (158th overall pick in 2010): Let go before the start of the 2012 season, the former fifth round pick got on the field for 58 snaps. Passed over when an opportunity to start at center opened.


-0.5: That pick was not put to good use

Taylor Mehlhaff, K (178th overall pick in 2008): Released and then re-signed in his rookie year, Mehlhaff would see his Saints career ended after missing a short kick and an extra point. If you spend a draft pick on a kicker they better stick.

Malcolm Jenkins, S (14th overall pick in 2009): You feel sorry for Jenkins, at times. Playing the deep safety role in the Saints’ defense is a thankless task that often leaves you about exposed as any defender can be. However he hasn’t exactly helped himself as he has missed a staggering one tackle for every 5.2 attempted.

Chip Vaughn, S (116th overall pick in 2009): Missed his rookie year with a knee injury and was then waived a year later. Not a great return from a fourth-round selection.

Stanley Arnoux, LB (118th overall pick in 2009): Another fourth-round draft choice released, though this time after two years with the team. Just 14 defensive snaps and four special teams tackles to show for it.

Patrick Robinson, CB (32nd overall pick in 2010): Looked decent in limited action as a rookie, and then earned a starting spot throughout the 2011 season. Unfortunately when more was asked out of him in 2012 he flopped, giving up more yards into his coverage and more touchdowns than any other cornerback.

Charles Brown, T (64th overall pick in 2010): 542 snaps. In three years that’s all the Saints have got out of Brown. They’ve wanted him to step up and earn a starting spot (and he still may), but he’s proved unable to do that.


-1.0: What a waste!

Sedrick Ellis, DT (7th overall pick in 2008): No longer with the team, Ellis never built on an impressive rookie season. From there on he earned a -16.2 grade as he struggled to get much push up field consistently. He hasn’t received much interest in the free agent market either which is interesting.

Al Woods, DT (123rd overall pick in 2010): Waived as a rookie, the Saints had no problems letting the former fourth-round pick land on the Steelers’ practice squad.


-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!

High marks for the scouts as no players landed here.


-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!

No Russell/ Leaf hybrids in this draft.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled


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