The other two Saints player to make the list both hail from the offensive line, right guard Jahri Evans and left guard Carl Nicks.
Evans has long been considered to be among the best, if not the best, guard in the NFL, a reputation he quickly developed, after being drafted “under the radar” in the fourth round of the 2006 draft (108th overall).
It wasn’t immediately expected that Evans was going to be a star, or even start his rookie year, although all that changed when projected starter Jermane Mayberry was injured in training camp and ultimately retired.
Evans has not looked back since becoming the gold standard for what an NFL guard should be, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl so far and a whopping seven-year 56.7 million dollar contract.
Left guard Carl Nicks also “flew under the radar” and was drafted in the fith round of the 2008 draft (164th overall).
Initially teams were turned off in the draft because of character concerns, as he earned a reputation during his college years for having a less than adequate work ethic.
Not unlike Evans, Nicks was not expected to be a starter his rookie season. However when projected starter Jamar Nesbit was suspended by the league for four games, Nicks took over and Nesbit never regained his starting job.
Nicks made the pro bowl last season and is currently a free agent. The Saints will try at all costs to resign him once a new CBA agreement is reached, as Evans and Nicks combine to form the best tandem of guards in the NFL.