Fact: We’re two weeks away from the NFL Draft.
The New Orleans Saints have had a lot of players run through their organization since Sean Payton entered the franchise in 2006. Call it a major coincidence, but did you know that the team has had the fewest amount of draft picks since 2006? That’s right, the Saints have led the NFL with a league low total of 53 draft choices. The next closest team? The New York Jets with 60 picks.
Over the years, the New Orleans Saints have found numerous ways to build up their roster, primarily through the undrafted rookie free agent pool. Through scouting, they’ve been able to find some true treasures over the past ten years.
However, for every gem that is discovered from the NFL Draft, there’s likely to be ten to fifteen busts. Making it in the NFL is not an easy task, as many players find out the hard way. Players drafted in the first several rounds have a lot to live up to, and how they perform will dictate their future. Most of these players never live up to the hype, or prove to be a good return on original investment.
We start a series that visits some of the worst draft busts under Sean Payton’s reign.
Before we get started, let’s go over some guidelines. In order to make this list, the selection has to be from the fourth round or higher. Despite Payton’s absence from the team in 2012, we’ll still count those players drafted.
Today, we start with Khairi Fortt.
Khairi Fortt, Linebacker
2014 Draft, 4th Round, #126 Overall – California
There was a certain buzz about Khairi Fortt when he entered the New Orleans Saints organization last season. He was a strong, physically gifted inside linebacker who had a knack for chasing down opposing defenders. At the time, it felt like the team drafted a good prospect to eventually take over Curtis Lofton or David Hawthorne’s job.
Fortt was placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list to start the season after suffering a leg injury in Week 2 of the preseason. Eventually, Fortt would be waived from the Saints as a ‘football decision’ on October 6, 2014, and be picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals three days later. It wouldn’t last long, as Fortt was cut by the Bengals on October 14th.
Eventually, Fortt would find stability with the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 3, 2014, and even play in three games for them between Weeks 10, 12, and 13. Currently, he’s locked up for this season, and is set to become an exclusive rights free agent in 2016.
Fortt’s short lived run with the Saints ended in a very awkward fashion. At the end of it all, we just received a very vague reason as to why he was released. However, he did miss two team meetings the week he was released.
Some players the Saints could have drafted in that Round: RB James White (#130), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (#138), LB Prince Shembo (#139)
Stay tuned as we count down the biggest busts leading up to the NFL Draft!