New Orleans Saints First Round Draft Choices in the NFL Draft
Discover the team's top draft choices on a yearly basis and find out what school they came from
and the impact they made on the Saints Franchise whether boom or bust!
Archie Manning
After a tremendous career at Ole
Miss, the Saints drafted Manning
to be the face of the franchise.  
Manning remains a fan-favorite
among the Saints nation.
New Orleans Saints First Round Draft Choices
Year
Pick
Position
Player
College
1967
26
RB
Leslie Kelly - Played just 3 seasons and never started
Alabama
1968
7
DE
Kevin Hardy - Never played for the Saints in his 4-year career
that included stints in SF, G' Bay & S.D.
Notre Dame
1969
17
G
John Shinners - Played for Saints (69-71) and later for Baltimore and
Cincinnati.  Last season was 1977.
Xavier
1970
10
WR
Ken Burrough
Texas
Southern
1971
2
QB
Archie Manning - Perhaps the most beloved player in Saints history.  
Never reached full potential due to lack of talent around him.  Traded to
Oilers in 1982.  Manning earned Pro Bowl honors with the Saints and is in
the team's Hall of Fame.
Ole Miss
1972
8
G
Royce Smith
Georgia
1973
N/A
N/A
No pick - Traded to Baltimore for the overall #2 pick
N/A
1974
13
LB
Rick Middleton
Ohio State
1975
12
OT
Kurt Schumacher
Ohio State
1976
3
RB
Chuck Muncie
California
1977
7
DE
Joe Campbell
Maryland
1978
3
WR
Wes Chandler
Florida
1979
11
K
Russell Erxleben
Texas
1980
12
OT
Stan Brock
Colorado
1981
1
RB
George Rogers
South
Carolina
1982
13
WR
Lindsay Scott
Georgia
1983
N/A
N/A
No pick - Traded the #11 selection to Green Bay
N/A
1984
N/A
N/A
No pick - Traded the #15 selection to the Jets
N/A
1985
24
LB
Alvin Toles
Tennessee
1986
6
OT
Jim Dombrowski
Virginia
1987
11
DT
Shawn Knight
BYU
1988
24
RB
Craig Heyward
Pittsburgh
1989
19
DE
Wayne Martin
Arkansas
1990
14
DE
Renaldo Turnbull
West
Virginia
1991
N/A
N/A
No pick - Traded the #14 selection to Dallas
 
1992
21
RB
Vaughn Dunbar
Indiana
1993
8
20
OT
TE
Willie Roaf
Irv Smith
Louisiana
Tech
Notre Dame
1994
13
DE
Joe Johnson
Louisville
1995
13
LB
Mark Fields
Washington
State
1996
11
DB
Alex Molden
Oregon
1997
10
G
Chris Naeole
Colorado
1998
7
OT
Kyle Turley
San Diego
State
1999
5
RB
Ricky Williams
Texas
2000
N/A
N/A
No pick - Washington received this selection, (a #2) from the Ricky
Williams trade
 
2001
23
RB
Deuce McAllister
Ole Miss
2002
13
25
WR
DE
Donte Stallworth
Charles Grant
Tennessee
Georgia
2003
6
DT
Jonathan Sullivan
Georgia
2004
18
DE
Will Smith
Ohio State
2005
13
OT
Jammal Brown
Oklahoma
2006
2
RB
Reggie Bush
USC
2007
27
WR
Robert Meachem
Tennessee
2008
7
DT
Sedrick Ellis
USC
2009
14
DB
Malcom Jenkins
Ohio State
2010
32
CB
Patrick Robinson
Florida
State
2011
24
DE
Cameron Jordan
Cal
2011
28
RB
Mark Ingram
Alabama
Russell Erxleben
This thunderfoot out of Texas was
supposed to be a Saints Savior
with his kicking and punting
excellence.  Instead, he wound up
being one of the biggest draft
busts in Saints history.
In 1967, their first season, the Saints made the worst draft decision in franchise history.

The Saints had traded the No. 1 over-all pick in the draft to Baltimore for backup quarterback Gary Cuozzo, and the
Saints had another No. 1 pick, the 26th over-all.

They selected running back Les Kelley of Alabama, who never got on track. He battled a knee injury and measles
during training camp and failed to carry the ball or make an official catch all season. A year later coach Tom Fears
moved him to linebacker. He played sparingly the next three years before being cut in 1969. Linebacker Willie
Lanier (Chiefs) and defensive back Lem Barney (Lions) were on the board when Kelley was picked.

"Kelley should have never been a high draft choice," said Fears.

The Kelley's selection highlights both the failure and curse of the draft.. There are no guarantees, even at the top
of the first round. Every decision  has the potential to either elevate or haunt a team for years to come.

Kelley ranks No. 1  on the list of all-time Saints draft busts, but there are other strong candidates to fill out the top
five.

2. Shawn Knight. The Saints needed a defensive end and picked Knight with the 11th over-all selection in 1987.  
Knight reported late to camp because of contract negotiations and fell out of favor with the coaches. He had bad
feet and his development was retarded from the start. He failed top get a sack while a Saint.

"The drafting of Knight was a mistake," said GM Jim Finks.

3. Larry Burton. The Saints needed a wide receiver with speed and selected tack star Larry Burton of Purdue with
the seventh over-all selection in 1975.

He had a track athlete's mentality. Almost from Day 1 he was hobbled by minor pains and strains in his legs (Done
Stallworth had similar problems). He also had shaky hands.

Burton lasted three years without catching more than 19 passes in a season. He was waived in 1978. He had 9.3
speed and ll.5 hands.
4. Russell Erxleben. Saints coach Dick Nolan thought he was a special teams star in strong-legged kicker-punter
Erxleben from Texas with the 11th over-all pick in the 1979 draft. At Texas, Erxleben had kicked 11 field goals of
more than 50 yards and three that covered more than 60 yards. He was the second-highest drafted kicker-punter in
NFL history. Two picks later, San Diego picked tight end Kellen Winslow.

Erxleben told Nolan and couldn't take the pressure of kicking field goals after he missed a 34-yarder against the
49ers. He attempted only eight field goals in five season with the Saints.

After retiring from the NFL, he became a financial investor in foreign exchange trading. He was investigated by the
IRS and pleaded guilty to for securities fraud. He was sentenced to 84 months in prison and ordered to pay a total
of $28 million in restitution and a $1 million fine.

5. Joe Campbell. The Saints thought they were getting just what they wanted when they drafted All-America
defensive end Joe Campbell with the No. 7 over-all selection in the 1977 draft. But Campbell couldn't control his
temper and his emotional flareups resulted in countless fights at practice and in games. He couldn't get along with
the coaching staff and was traded to Oakland in 1981 for a sixth-round draft choice.

"All he was doing was getting in fights and getting kicked out of games," said coach Dick Nolan.
Johnathan Sullivan must be placed in a draft bust category by himself because he took the Saints for $16 million in
three seasons.

The Saints selected Sullivan, a defensive tackle from Georgia, with the 6th over-all pick in 2003. They traded up
with Arizona to get this pick. The Saints also gave up two No. 1 draft choices to the Cardinals. They also traded
second-round draft choices and the Saints received the Arizona fourth-round pick.

Sullivan was president of the "Heavy Lunch Bunch" and his weight sometimes was more than 350 pounds. One
road game, he was spotted dining in the media area. He was inactive for that game.

In three seasons with the Saints he had 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble in 36 games before ignominiously dealt to
New England for one of its draft busts, wide receiver Bethel Johnson. Sullivan was released later in the 3005
season.

Sullivan was satisfied with taking all millions he pocketed from the Saints to the bank in Griffin, Ga. The money took
away his desire to continue his football career.

Other first-round draft busts could join this group: Alvin Toles, Lindsay Scott, Wesley Carroll, Vaughn Dunbar and
Royce Smith.
New Orleans Saints First Round Draft Busts