COMMENTARY | The New Orleans Saints franchise should thank god general manager Mickey Loomis came into their lives. Granted, not every pick by Loomis has panned out, but compared to his predecessors, he's been more successful.
Previous Saints GMs have rolled the dice on draft picks only to come up with snake eyes. The team has made its fair share of epic fails in the draft over the years, and here's my top 5 in team history.
1) Russell Erxleben K, (Texas) 1979 first round-11th overall pick
I never heard of Russell Erxleben prior to writing this story. I also didn't know the New Orleans Saints were brazen enough to take him, a kicker, top 20 in the first round. Plagued by injury problems, Erxleben made only four career field goals in his four-year stint with the black and gold.
To make matters worse, the Saints squandered an opportunity to select some quarterback named Joe Montana out of Notre Dame (selected 82nd overall). He went on to have a decent career with the San Francisco 49ers.
2) Lindsey Scott WR, (Georgia) 1982 first round- 13th overall pick
Scott was a highly touted wide receiver out of the University of Georgia. Scouts raved about his speed and big play ability. Unfortunately, Scott forgot to pack these skills in his suitcase when he arrived in New Orleans. He had a mediocre four-year career with 69 receptions for 864 yards and one touchdown.
3) Shawn Knight DE, (BYU) 1987 first round- 11th overall pick
Shawn Knight was considered a "can't miss" prospect by Saints management. Viewed as an impact pass rusher, he turned out to be a bust of epic proportions. Knight lasted one pitiful season in New Orleans and was traded to Denver a year later. During his three-year career, Knight produced one fumble recovery in 31 games.
4) Jonathan Sullivan DT, (Georgia) 2003 first round-6th overall pick
Jonathan Sullivan was hyped as one of the top defensive players in the draft. The Saints traded up in the draft to select him, and it turned out to be a regrettable move. Sullivan never lived up to his top 10 pick and was relegated to the bench after two seasons. Sullivan finished his three years in New Orleans with 57 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.
Not only did management crap out with the Sullivan selection, they could have selected better talent with that pick (linebacker Terrell Suggs-10th overall Baltimore Ravens, cornerback Marcus Trufant-11th overall Seattle Seahawks and safety Troy Polamalu- 16th overall Pittsburgh Steelers).
5) Alex Molden CB, (Oregon) 1996 first round-11th overall pick
The Saints had needs at the running back, wide receiver, and linebacker position, but opted for cornerback Alex Molden. Molden never lived up to his potential, and had a marginal five-year career with 8 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles. Once again, the team fell asleep at the wheel, missing out on chances to draft running back Eddie George (no.15 Tennessee Titans), wide receiver Marvin Harrison (no.19 Indianapolis Colts), or linebacker Ray Lewis (no.26 Baltimore Ravens).
The past draft debacles by Saints management should be a lesson to the current regime, not to drink and draft.
Daniel Miller is a freelance sportswriter for Patch.com. He has also worked as a freelance sportswriter for the Dallas Morning News, a sports editor for Sirius XM Radio, and a sports production assistant for KXAS-TV NBC-5 in Dallas.
You can follow Daniel on Twitter @dm26nola
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