Andrew's post on who were the worst picks the Saints ever had inspired me to write a little post of myself. I looked at a possible scenario where the Saints had not drafted the guy they picked but had drafted another guy that was drafted later, next man up. Couple of rules: the player must be the Saints' first pick of that year and he must be compared to the same position. Since record keeping gets bad the further back I go, I could only cover about 25 years back.
This is part 1 in which I look at where the Saints should have drafted the next man up.
My overall feeling: The Saints have had better or equal a lot of times. They were bad maybe, but the next man up was just as bad or worse. They have missed out only 4 times in 1985-2010. 2011 & 2012 picks have not yet played enough to say something about them.
5: There is no real nr 5. Nothing conclusive and substantial anyway.
4: 1987 Shawn Knight NT #11. We have read from Andrews post that he sucked. The next guy up was not there since he was the only NT drafted. However you can put a DT there who is Danny Noonan (#12) who is not that good but has started 41 games. He however only weighs in at 270 pounds and played DE so he might not be the real next man up.
3: 1996 Alex Molden CB #11. Wikipedia has very little on him, that is how unimpressive he was. So I can not say much. The next guy up, Walt Harris (#13) was a player that played a long time in the NFL. He was a good rookie and then it took him 10 years to get to his best performance in 2006 which gave him his one and only Pro Bowl selection and an All-Pro nomination.
2: 2003 Johnathan Sullivan DT #6. Andrew has told us how bad he was. But how was the next man up? Well that was Kevin Williams (#9) who is still playing for the Vikings and can only get more stats. He has been to 6 Pro Bowls and 5 times got nominated All-Pro. So... bas Sullivan bad? Yes he was but there was 1 guy that had a better guy following him.
1: 1995 Mark Fields LB #13. I never seen him play nor knew about him (since I only follow NFL since 2009). The guy is a 2 time probowler. That is pretty good! How can he be FIRST on the list then? Well the guy comming up after him is Derrick Brooks (#28). Looking at his record, I think he will be there at the next Superbowl, center field, just before kickoff, because I am not mistaken that is the year he is eligible for the HOF and he should be a first ballot HOFer. The guy has been 11 times to the Pro Bowl, been voted 9 times All-Pro and won a superbowl. Next to that he is a great guy as he has won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. So... 1995 was not a bad pick for the Saints.. but it could have been so much better!
Mark Fields was a great player. He should not be #1 on this list. I know Derrick Brooks was one of the best LB's ever, but honestly, Fields could have had a great career with the Saints. They let him test free agency and we lost him the year after he made the Pro Bowl. He went on to be even better with the Panthers before getting cancer. He came back from cancer to play again, but it returned. So that's the only thing that held him back. I think he's still alive though.
Alex Molden was pure trash. A top 10 worst picks in history of the Saints. And yeah, anyone behind Shawn Knight was going to be better because drafting a corpse would have been improvement. I refuse to even discuss Jonathan Sullivan further.
Also - in 2007 the Saints drafted Meachem. Decent career w/ Saints but Sidney Rice was the next WR drafted and he's much better.
@SaintsNation I am not doing this from a scouting position, just from a pure stat position. Fields was good and though you can not scout whether or not someone will get sick, it does make a difference in the career the player has.
The rest of the guys were followed by better guys that were good or maybe even future HOFers, and Fields is a great player, but any time you pick someone else and pass on an absolute superstar the pick could have been better. Sure saints might have lost Brooks as well but that is not what I am looking at. Nor am I looking at what the Saints gave up to draft that guy.
And in 2007 the Next man up was Buster Davis. He was pretty much a bust with 51 career catches and 2 TDs. Might have clarified that in my rules as well ;-)