The New Orleans Saints ‘All-Time’ Payton Team: Defense & Special Teams


Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Cowboys 49-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

About a month ago, I gave you my offensive picks for building the ‘All-Time’ Sean Payton team, which is composed of the very best players from 2006-present. We omitted as many of the ‘newer’ players as possible. In case you missed it, you can read the full article on the offense here. However, if you like Cliff Notes, then here’s the ‘All-Time’ Payton Team offense.

My All-Time Payton Team Depth Chart – Offense

QB: Drew Brees, Chase Daniel
RB: Deuce McAllister, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mike Bell
FB: Mike Karney, Jed Collins
WR: Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Joe Horn, Robert Meachem
TE: Jimmy Graham, Jeremy Shockey, David Thomas
T: Jermon Bushrod, Jonathan Stinchcomb, Zach Strief
G: Ben Grubbs, Jahri Evans, Jermon Bushrod
C: Jonathan Goodwin, Brian de la Puente

We proceed with the defense and special teams to round out our 53-man roster!

Defensive Line
Will Smith, Charles Grant, Cam Jordan, Hollis Thomas, Sedrick Ellis, Bobby McCray

Thoughts: Putting some ‘beef’ on the interior with Thomas works well with Ellis. For as much as we ‘poke fun’ at Ellis being a bust, he did well for the most part. Having Will Smith and Cam Jordan edge rushing (especially Will Smith in his prime) would make for a ‘sack-happy’ duo.

Scott Fujita, Jonathan Vilma, Scott Shanle, Curtis Lofton, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Ramon Humber

Thoughts: The trio of Fujita-Vilma-Shanle played together for several seasons. Shanle led the defense in tackles in 2006, Fujita answered in 2007, and Vilma took the reigns from 2008-2010. Curtis Lofton has led the team in tackles for two straight seasons, and has further emerged as the leader of the Saints defense. Ramon Humber fits into the equation as a great special teams addition, and Dunbar adds depth and versatility as an outside linebacker.

Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Mike McKenzie, Patrick Robinson, Randall Gay

Thoughts: Sorry, I don’t care what you think about Jason David, he isn’t going on this list. As for Greer and Porter, these two were the staples of the corner position for several years under Sean Payton. Jabari came over from Buffalo in 2009, and Porter entered the scene as a rookie in 2008. We all hold Tracy Porter near and dear to our hearts, as he was a hero of the Super Bowl and saved us in the NFC Championship game against the Vikings. Mike McKenzie spent the last part of his career with the Saints, entering the franchise in 2004, and exiting in 2009 – still getting his Super Bowl ring despite not being on the active roster. Patrick Robinson and Randall Gay serve as nickel and slot cornerbacks.

Roman Harper, Darren Sharper, Malcolm Jenkins, Josh Bullocks

Thoughts: Harper and Sharper were the equivalent of being the Saints ‘Bash Brothers’ at safety for several years, and Malcolm Jenkins makes it easily as another safety. Josh Bullocks played for the Saints from 2005-2008. While he was a part of Sean Payton’s team, Bullocks would have 5 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 21 pass defenses. He was a good veteran to have then, and would be great on the team again

Garrett Hartley

Thoughts: It was a toss-up between Hartley and John Carney, but in the end, it was a mixture of the kick that sent the Saints to the Super Bowl coupled with the perfect tries in the Super Bowl that boosted Hartley on the all-time Payton team.

Thomas Morstead

Thoughts: Morstead has been handling punting and kicking off duties since 2009. It’s easy. We all love ‘The Leg’.

Long Snapper
Justin Drescher

Thoughts: Usually the forgotten man, the long snapper doesn’t get much attention on the Saints 53-man roster. However, if you are a true ‘Who Dat’, then you know about Drescher, who enters his fourth season for the black and gold. Drescher took over duties on November 22, 2010, and hasn’t looked back since.

Special Teams Gunner
Steve Gleason

Thoughts: As if I need to explain Steve Gleason to any of you.

Kicker/Punt Returner
Reggie Bush

Thoughts: For those who were wondering why I didn’t include Reggie Bush as a running back in my offensive roster, this is where I believe he’d be best suited for the Payton team. Bush was the last player to ‘light it up’ in the return game, and he’d be a dangerous asset.

My All-Time Payton Team Starting Roster – Defense (4-3)

DL: Will Smith
DT: Sedrick Ellis
DT: Hollis Thomas
DL: Cam Jordan
OLB: Scott Fujita
MLB: Jonathan Vilma
OLB: Scott Shanle
CB: Jabari Greer
CB: Tracy Porter
SS: Roman Harper
FS: Darren Sharper

Who was left off/snubbed from the ‘All-Time’ Sean Payton Team? Do you think newer players like Keenan Lewis, Kenny Vaccaro, and John Jenkins should have been included? Why? Sound off below!

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