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New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The eighth NFL draft of the Sean Payton era is upon us and the New Orleans Saints once again are shrouded in intrigue. Months of analysis have yielded few clues about who the Saints will pick, what positions they will ...

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Old 04-23-2013, 09:41 PM   #1
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The eighth NFL draft of the Sean Payton era is upon us and the New Orleans Saints once again are shrouded in intrigue.

Months of analysis have yielded few clues about who the Saints will pick, what positions they will address and when they will address them.

Every mock is different. The only consensus is the lack of consensus.

So until Thursday arrives and the dust clears, our best bet is to use history as a divining rod. And here's what the Saints' track record of seven drafts in the Payton era tells us to expect Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

--Their first-round pick will be a good, solid player but not a lights-out difference-maker.

--Their mid- to lower-round picks will produce at least one future star.

--And they'll have better luck with their offensive picks than their defensive ones.

Those are the results of an analysis of the Saints' seven drafts since Payton took the reigns in 2006. The Saints have largely been successful, which has resulted in a sparkling 74-46 record in Payton's seven seasons. But the results have been mixed, especially after the bonanza in Year 1.

It would difficult for anyone to reproduce the results of the Saints' first draft class under Payton in 2006. The seven-man haul netted the core of the team that would win a Super Bowl and three NFC South titles. It produced one All-Pro (Jahri Evans), one Pro Bowler (Roman Harper), a No. 1 receiver (Marques Colston), a productive utility back Reggie Bush and a multi-year starter at right tackle, Zach Strief.

Drafts in the modern era simply don't get better than that. It was the equivalent of throwing a no-hitter in your major-league pitching debut.

The subsequent six drafts haven't come close to matching 2006 for quantity or quality. There have been a few home runs (Jimmy Graham, Carl Nicks) and strikeouts (Johnny Patrick, Al Woods), but mostly a lot of singles and doubles.

The Saints have been excellent in the middle and late rounds and below average on their top picks. They've excelled at finding bargains on offense, especially along the line. But haven't been nearly as good at finding defensive talent.



A look in greater detail at some of the findings after two days of analysis using the NFL Draft Tracker on ProFootballReference.com:

- Few teams if any have been able to identify offensive talent as well as the Saints. Of the 19 offensive players selected, six developed into multi-year starters and three others - Bush, Robert Meachem and Mark Ingram - were key role players. Four became Pro Bowlers: Graham; Evans; Nicks; and Jermon Bushrod.

The only misses were Matt Tennant, Sean Canfield, Andy Alleman, Antonio Pittman and Mike Haas.

Charles Brown certainly qualifies as a question mark at this stage. His 2013 season will go a long way in determining his boom-or-bust fate.

And it's still too early to fairly or accurately gauge last year's offensive draft picks -- Nick Toon; Andrew Tiller; and Marcel Jones - but the Saints are high on all three. If you remove them from the equation, the Saints have hit on nine of their 16 offensive draft picks. That's an impressive batting average.

- The Saints' ability to find offensive line talent in the mid- and late rounds is unparalleled. Since 2006, only three offensive linemen have been drafted after the third round and enjoyed Pro Bowl careers. All three are Saints: Bushrod (fifth); Evans; and Nicks.

If you add tight end Jimmy Graham to the mix, the Saints have drafted four Pro Bowlers in the third round or later since 2006. No other team has drafted more than two in those rounds.

In fact, you could make a case that the Saints have produced the best third- (Graham), fourth- (Evans), fifth- (Nicks) and seventh-round pick (Colston) in that past seven years.

- The Saints' success in finding late-round offensive gems makes their struggles to do the same on defense all the more confounding.

It's more difficult to find top defensive talent in the middle and low rounds. Of the 36 Pro Bowl defenders drafted since 2006, only seven have been selected after the second round. Still, for whatever reason, the Saints have not been able to find a Elvis Dumervil, Antoine Bethea or Cortland Finnegan, future Pro Bowl defenders who were selected in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds of the 2006 draft.

"I think that's just coincidence and circumstance as opposed to anything that's systematically good for offense and not good for defense," Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said Tuesday. "We've had some luck drafting offensive linemen in the middle and late rounds. At least so far we haven't been able to discover anything that says, hey, we're not doing something on defense that we're doing on offense."

- The Saints' track record in the first round has been solid but unspectacular. While it would be unfair to call any of their seven first-rounders busts - there's no Jonathan Sullivan here - none of them have made a single Pro Bowl appearance.

That puts the Saints in dubious company. Only four other teams have failed to draft a Pro Bowler in the first round since 2006. But only the Saints, Rams and Raiders have struck out while having at least one top 10 pick in that span.

- The Saints have had only 42 picks over the seven years, the second fewest draft selections of any team in the league during that span. That can be attributed to their penchant for trades, the bounty investigation and their aggressiveness in free agency, which has reduced their number of compensatory draft selection. This leaves them decidedly less margin for error. The Patriots, for example, have had 66 selections in the same span.

The Saints have managed to compensate in the rookie free agent pool. Almost every year they find a player that makes their final roster and develops into a regular, among them Steve Weatherford; Pierre Thomas; Jo-Lonn Dunbar; Junior Galette; Chris Ivory; and Joseph Morgan.

Loomis said the Saints are constantly evaluating their draft process and retroactively self-scouting themselves to see if their grades hold up over time, not just on their own players but on opposing personnel, as well.

"That's an ongoing process," Loomis said. "It never stops."

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Old 04-23-2013, 09:52 PM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

It's nice to read a positive spin about our recent draft history. Hopefully their focus on the defensive side this year pans out as well.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:02 AM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

With the 32nd pick in the 1st round of the NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State University.


-sigh-
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:49 PM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

Originally Posted by rezburna View Post
With the 32nd pick in the 1st round of the NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State University.


-sigh-
This epitomizes our 1st round drafts under Payton.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:06 PM   #5
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

I'm not sure how positive this article was. My impression of the piece is that it was somewhat critical, noting the lack of production from the high value draft choices and the "luck" of later round selections turning into "singles and doubles."

If a look-squad player is a single, then why can't I get a contract?
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:20 PM   #6
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

Take out 2006 and its very unimpressive, although the 2011 and 2012 class still looks promising.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:39 PM   #7
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

i think we talked about this misconception in another thread.

i give the saints a C+ in the draft and even then i feel like i have been a bit of a homer with that +
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:05 PM   #8
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

A - Offense
D - Defense
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:09 PM   #9
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

Originally Posted by rezburna View Post
With the 32nd pick in the 1st round of the NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State University.


-sigh-
And a collective "who?........who!!" From every saints fan
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:08 PM   #10
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Re: New Orleans Saints have enjoyed counterintuitive NFL Draft success under Coach Sean Payton

What they need to figure is how to find top round talent lie,they do low round talent
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