Saints have a history of beating first-overall quarterbacks drafted into the NFC South

The New Orleans Saints are the only team in the NFC South to have never spent the first overall pick in the NFL draft on a quarterback — and the division-rival Carolina Panthers are poised to double-dip after trading up with the Chicago Bears in a bold move from No. 9. Whether they choose to pick Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, or Will Levis, Carolina is likely starting the top pick in the 2023 draft under center come September.

Fortunately, the Saints have a good history against those top-drafted quarterbacks. Oftentimes the teams picking them aren’t very good (which is why they were picking so high in the first place). Here’s a quick look at the past performance of those highly-picked passers against the Saints in the NFC South:

2001: Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons

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Record vs. Saints: 5-3

Career total stats vs. Saints: Completed 109 of 218 pass attempts (50%) for 1,403 yards, throwing 7 touchdown passes against 5 interceptions while taking 24 sacks; ran 65 times for 580 yards and 6 touchdown carries, fumbling 3 times

Career averages vs. Saints: 27.3 pass attempts for 175.4 passing yards and 8.1 carries for 72.5 rushing yards per game; 1.6 touchdowns per game as a passer or runner; 3 sacks and 1 turnover per game

Vick was technically drafted a year before the NFC South was formed, but we’ll let it slide. His threat as a runner made the difference in those always-tough rivalry games but the Saints gave as good as they got, even if Vick got the last laugh in winning more games than he lost to New Orleans.

2011: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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Record vs. Saints: 7-9

Career total stats vs. Saints: Completed 266 of 460 pass attempts (57.8%) for 3,242 yards, throwing 21 touchdown passes against 11 interceptions while taking 34 sacks; ran 101 times for 521 yards and 7 touchdown carries, fumbling 6 times

Career averages vs. Saints: 28.8 pass attempts for 202.6 passing yards and 6.3  carries for 32.6 rushing yards per game; 1.8 touchdowns per game as a passer or runner; 2.1 sacks and 1.1 turnover per game

Newton was a problem. He was big and hard to tackle or bring down in a sack, and he continued to threatened the Saints defense as a runner even late into his career. But he was effective enough as a passer to keep them honest in coverage. It’s a shame injuries piled up and cut his career short because there weren’t many more exciting players to watch on Sundays, even if he was playing for the other team.

2015: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Record vs. Saints: 3-6

Career total stats vs. Saints: Completed 169 of 294 pass attempts (57.5%) for 2,010 yards, throwing 11 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions while taking 24 sacks; ran 34 times for 200 yards and 2 touchdown carries, fumbling 3 times

Career averages vs. Saints: 32.7 pass attempts for 223.3 passing yards and 3.8 carries for 22.2 rushing yards per game; 1.4 touchdowns per game as a passer or runner; 2.7 sacks and 1.4 turnover per game

Winston made some impressive throws in his games against the Saints, but he was never a player that the defense really worried about because of his issues with ball security. He averaged as many turnovers as scoring plays in those games with the Buccaneers. Unlike Vick and Newton, he also wasn’t really a threat to run with the football, which made him easier to defend. Unfortunately, he hasn’t progressed enough working on those flaws to lock up the starting job after joining New Orleans.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire