Yesterday, we went over the Saints third best draft class since 2000. 2016 might be the most underrated class of them all. However, there are only two real contenders for the top two spots. I have 2006 coming in as the second best Saints draft class since 2000.
2nd Overall- Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush was a part of the revival of New Orleans. Him along with Drew Brees, Steve Gleason, Deuce McAllister, and others helped rebuild our city which had been hit by one of the most tragic hurricanes in history. While his stat line for the Saints was pretty good, what he did for the city and fan base in general played a big role as well. Reggie spent 5 seasons in NOLA where he was selected as an All-Pro punt returner in 2008. He was a part of the 2009 Super Bowl run and was selected into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2019. You can still see Reggie Bush jerseys around the city of NOLA today.
43rd Overall- Roman Harper
Roman Harper is another Saints legend. He has made the Pro Bowl twice for us in 2009 and 2010. Harper was a starter on the 2009 Super Bowl team where he lead the team with 8 tackles. He was selected as a first team All-Pro in 2010. In 2015 he helped lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl before coming back to NOLA for one final year in 2016.
108th Overall- Jahri Evans
Jahri Evans is the third Saints legend to be selected in 2006. Evans spent 11 years in NOLA, where he played and started 169 games. He was a part of the 2009 Super Bowl team obviously, and in 2010 he signed the most expensive contract for a guard in NFL history at the time. Evans was a 6 time Pro Bowler, 4 time First-Team All-Pro, 1 time Second-Team All-Pro, and he was a part of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. The Saints really hit a home run with this pick.
135th Overall- Rob Ninkovich
Rob Ninkovich went on to have a succesful career, unfortunately not with the Saints. After the draft, Ninkovich went on to sign a three-year $1.22 million contract with the black and gold. Ninkovich made the team in 2006, but after a knee injury, during a July practice in 2007, he was cut by the Saints. In December of 2008, he signed back to the Saints, off of the Dolphins’ practice squad, before being released again in July of 2009. He would then sign a one-year deal with New England where he would spend the rest of his career. Ninkovich won two Super Bowls and retired in 2017.
171st Overall- Mike Hass
Mike Hass was a Wide Receiver selected by the Saints in the 6th round out of Oregon State. Hass was cut by the Saints before the season, he signed with the Bears for a few years and with Seattle for a year before finishing his career on the Omaha Nighthawks.
174th Overall- Josh Lay
Josh Lay was a corner selected by the Saints in the 6th round out of Pittsburgh. He was cut before the 2006 season. Lay spent a short stint on the St. Louis Rams before his NFL time was up.
210th Overall- Zach Strief
Zach Strief is another Saints legend. He played in 158 games, 94 of which he started. He was a part of the Super Bowl winning team in 2009 and was selected to the Pro Football Focus First-Team All-Pro in 2013. Strief is now the Saints play-by-play voice announcer. He replaced Jim Henderson in 2018.
252nd Overall- Marques Colston
With their final pick in the draft, the Saints hit another home run with Marques Colston. Colston quickly established himself as one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, and spent ten years with the black and gold. Colston is the Saints all-time leading receiver across the board. He has the most receptions, yards, touchdowns, and games played. Colston was obviously a part of the Super Bowl winning team in 2009. He had 6 seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards. It is honestly a crime that he was never selected to the Pro Bowl. A great pick to round out an amazing draft that is largely responsible for some of the greatest moments in Saints history!
2006 was an A++ draft for the Saints and was the back bone for the 2009 Super Bowl run! Make sure to check back tomorrow to see which class gets the nod as the best Saints’ draft class since 2000 (it’s pretty obvious). Hold it.