Over the past 3 seasons, only 4 teams have had fewer draft picks than the New Orleans Saints. This trend is going to continue, with only 4 picks in 2009, as they've decided to build their team more through trades and Free Agency. I'm not sure that's the best way to build a team, but they were in the NFC Title game just 3 years ago, so it can't be that bad.
I took a look at the last 3 drafts for the Saints, to try and see if they had any tendencies, which may help shape where they will go in 2009. Here's a list of their picks from the first 3 rounds, as well as the number of games played by those picks:
- Only 7 of their 21 picks over the past 3 seasons have been in the first 3 rounds. Reggie Bush is the best player of the bunch, although it's a little early on Sedrick Ellis. Bush's games would have been higher without injuries.
- The Saints have drafted 3 players in the secondary early in the past 3 years, and 2 of them are pretty good players. Harper has only missed 1 start in 2 years, and Porter was the starting CB this season before being lost for the season due to injury.
- Andy Alleman was pretty much a wasted pick. He was active for only 1 game his rookie season, and was waived just before the 2008 season. As it often happens in the NFL, Alleman caught on with the Dolphins, starting at G in 5 games, including the playoff game.
- These 7 guys have played in 135 of a possible 224 games, which is 60.3%. This is lower than the Lions number, which I thought was already low. Alleman definitely plays a part in this, as do injuries. Teams must be successful with their high draft picks.
- Of the 22 starters in Week 1, only 10 of them were drafted by the Saints. This is again lower than the Lions, which I can't say is a good sign. It also proves my point correct that they like building their team through free agency and trades.
- The best player drafted by the Saints in these 3 years was taken at #252 overall, Marques Colston. Was this really good scouting, or just dumb luck? Either way, the Saints got a really good player only 3 players from "Mr. Irrelevant".
Lastly, here's a chart of what positions the Saints have picked over the past 3 years. This should give us a glimpse into what the Saints could do in 2009:
Here's what I see:
- The Saints have drafted at least 1 player at every position on defense over the past 3 years, and I'm going to guess they'll go with at least 1 LB, and 1 S this season.
- They haven't taken a QB, but they don't need to. Same goes for TE, as they invested 2 draft picks already in Jeremy Shockey.
- They drafted a Kicker last year, cut him before the season, signed him when Martin Gramatica got hurt, then cut him again when he missed an Extra Point. I'm guessing they won't do that again.