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pakowitz 05-01-2003 03:13 AM

Saints recent Draft successes: A recap

The Saints have made the most of their draft choices over the last three years since the arrival of Coach Jim Haslett. The club has selected quality players throughout the draft, and the players picked over the last three years now represent the foundation of the club on both sides of the ball. It’s also worth noting the Saints traded their third-round choice in 2001 for QB Aaron Brooks. A look back:

Round 2: DE Darren Howard – Left without a first- and third-round picks because of the trade for RB Ricky Williams the year before, the Saints still struck gold with the selection of Howard at 33rd overall. Howard went on to earn NFL All-Rookie honors by posting a Saints rookie-record 11 sacks. No player in club history has recorded more than Howard’s 25 sacks after three seasons with the Saints.

Round 4: FB Terrelle Smith – The former college linebacker has started 26 of 44 games since being selected 96th overall. He has emerged as one of the NFL’s top blocking backs over the last three seasons.

Round 6b: CB Michael Hawthorne – A quick cornerback with the size that NFL scouts are looking for, Hawthorne has played in 28 games in his career. He started four contests in 2002 before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Round 7: LS Kevin Houser – Picked 228th overall, Houser has become one of the league’s most consistent long-snappers. He has been a cog on the special teams units.

Round 1: RB Deuce McAllister – After a year serving as the club’s kick returner, McAllister left no doubt in his second season that he was primed to become the Saints’ featured back in 2002. He posted eight 100-yard games last season while rushing for an NFC-high 1,388 yards and added 47 catches for 352 yards. He scored 16 touchdowns and was voted a starter in the Pro Bowl.

Round 3a: LB Sedrick Hodge – The speedy defender started all 16 games in 2002 and posted a career-high 88 tackles and eight passes defensed.
Round 3b: DT Kenny Smith – Picked 81st overall, the young lineman emerged as a contributor in 2002, posting a career-high 3.5 sacks.

Round 1a: WR Donte’ Stallworth – Selected 13th overall, Stallworth supplied immediate impact by hauling in an NFL rookie-high eight touchdowns, which was also a team record for rookies. Two of his scoring grabs were game-winners late in the fourth quarter as he posted 42 catches for 594 yards (14.1 yards per catch).

Round 1b: DE Charles Grant – The Saints’ second first-round pick (25th overall) finished second on the club and among NFC rookies with seven sacks. He started six games and played in all 16. Grant added four forced fumbles and scooped up a loose ball at Carolina and rumbled 34 yards for a touchdown.

Round 2: G LeCharles Bentley – Became the first rookie offensive lineman to start opening day for New Orleans. Named to several All-Rookie teams and picked as NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by Sports Illustrated.

Round 3: LB James Allen – Oregon State product expected to vie for starting spot at outside linebacker in 2003. Solid special teams performer scored a game-winning touchdown on an interception in opener at Tampa Bay.

Round 4: CB Keyuo Craver – Rookie defensive back was a cog in pass defense before injury forced him to miss six games. Had a fumble return for touchdown, one of four rookies to score TDs in 2002.

Round 5: S Mel Mitchell – Lanky defender was one of the Saints’ best special teams performers last season, posting 25 tackles. Cover skills and speed make him a player to watch at safety in the future.

Round 6a: QB J.T. O’Sullivan – Spent the year learning at third quarterback position, but has impressed coaching staff with quick mind and savvy in the pocket.

[Edited on 5/1/2003 by pakowitz]

[Edited on 5/1/2003 by pakowitz]

[Edited on 5/1/2003 by pakowitz]

[Edited on 5/1/2003 by pakowitz]

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