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Halo 04-18-2011 12:45 PM

Top six draft busts in New Orleans Saints history - #5 Ricky Williams
 
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My guidelines for a draft bust look at everything including the player's worth, accomplishments while with the team, and what was given up for them to be drafted to the Saints.

That last part of my guidelines should be what long-time New Orleans Saints fans think of when it comes to Ricky Williams and whether he was a draft bust or not. It is obvious now that many of you are now on the exact same page as me so I can continue on and explain myself in full. For those of you still wondering how on earth Williams can be considered a "bust," please continue reading to see for yourself.

Running Back Ricky Williams - drafted 5th overall in the 1999 draft out of the University of Texas

Back in 1999, Williams was coming out of Texas having won the Heisman Trophy and literally bowling over every single person that got in his way on the field. The kid was a veritable beast and had talent that was unmatched at the time and would be worth every single penny spent on him by any team that drafted him.

Well, that's almost true.

Then Saints coach Mike Ditka went out on a limb and decided he would do anything he could to draft Williams so that he could be in black and gold as a rookie. By "do anything," I mean just that. Ditka traded away the entire Saints' draft that year and some into the next so that he could jump up to get Williams. Let's take a look at exactly what the coach traded away for the Heisman winner.
  • Saints receive 5th overall pick
  • Washington Redskins receive the Saints first (12th overall), third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh round picks in 1999 along with first and third round picks in 2000.

That is correct. Ricky Williams came to the Saints in 1999 at the cost of eight draft picks and an ESPN The Magazine cover shoot with Coach Ditka in which the running back wore a wedding dress.

Now this is not me saying that Ricky was a dud by any stretch of the imagination because his numbers were truly impressive, but far from astronomical as you can see:

2000: 884 rushing yards with two TDS; 172 receiving yards
2001: 1000 rushing yards with eight TDs; 409 receiving yards with one TD
2002: 1245 rushing yards with six TDs; 511 receiving yards with one TD

In reality, his numbers were good yardage-wise but the scoring was a bit on the low end of things. Let's not forget the "social disorder" that bruoght much unnecessary attention to the team. Do you all recall when Williams would do all of hsi interviews with media and never removing his helmet?

Looking back now, many can say the Saints almost came out on the better end of that huge draft-day trade because the only positive thing that Washington ever ended up with was Champ Bailey. That still does not justify anyone ever spending eight draft picks to get one single player. I'm sorry but that constitutes a draft "bust" in my book because if you are a running back that gets eight picks spent on you then you'd better run for well over 2,000 yards and score at least 20 touchdowns.

Ricky Williams never came close to that and he eventually did "Run Ricky Run" when he was traded to the Miami Dolphins after the 2002 season. His first year with the Dolphins saw him pile up over 1,800 rushing yards, 363 receiving yards, and 17 total touchdowns. Now those numbers are closer to "eight-pick worthy," but still not completely.

Tune in Tuesday morning for the fourth biggest draft bust in Saints' history.

Linkback

Halo 04-18-2011 01:02 PM

I personally felt like Rickey was part of the one/two punch that got us to our first playoff win in 2000.

Rickey and Deuce were a powerful combo.

GeauxForMore 04-18-2011 01:21 PM

For the Saints you could argue that he was a bust. I dont think he was. It was just dumb to trade the entire draft. He was a beast with Miami though, but I have to agree with Strato he is a strange guy.

Crusader 04-18-2011 04:55 PM

Like I stated in a previous post, I don't agree at all with calling Williams a bust. He was a beast and I wish we would have kept him.

MatthewT 04-19-2011 01:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crusader (Post 294434)
Like I stated in a previous post, I don't agree at all with calling Williams a bust. He was a beast and I wish we would have kept him.

It is believed that Miami is not going to bring him back, I honestly believe he would be a perfect fit for the Saints. He should have a couple years left in him, and seems to be fine with being a role player. Put him in the mix with Thomas and Ivory, and I can actually see the Saints being one of the top rushing teams in the league. All the Saints really need to do is get the running game going and the rest will take care of itself. Brees would be absolutely lethal again!

Crusader 04-19-2011 02:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MatthewT (Post 294463)
It is believed that Miami is not going to bring him back, I honestly believe he would be a perfect fit for the Saints. He should have a couple years left in him, and seems to be fine with being a role player. Put him in the mix with Thomas and Ivory, and I can actually see the Saints being one of the top rushing teams in the league. All the Saints really need to do is get the running game going and the rest will take care of itself. Brees would be absolutely lethal again!

Not a bad idea I'd say. I still remember when I saw him in Miami during the 09 season. The Dolphins dominated in teh first round when they were handing him the ball. Then they tried to pass and we all know what ensued...

lynwood 04-19-2011 07:03 AM

Ditka was the Bust, not Ricky.

spkb25 04-19-2011 07:25 AM

Yeah I would't agree with this one 100%. He had mental issues and problems, but his second season he had 1000 yards having played, I am fairly sure, only 10 games. Pretty good on a team that wasn't very good and you knew he was getting the ball

jcp026 04-19-2011 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lynwood (Post 294472)
Ditka was the Bust, not Ricky.

I was going to say the exact same thing.

Luda34 04-19-2011 01:36 PM

Ditka should go down as the biggest bust in Saints history.


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