The New Orleans Saints entered the 2009 season with only four total draft picks. The Saints were highly active during the offseason, trading away their second and fifth round draft picks to the New York Giants for tight end Jeremy Shockey, and sending their third-round selection to the New York Jets as part of the conditional pick terms for acquiring Jonathan Vilma in 2008.
Despite parting ways with multiple picks, 2009 was not a complete bust. The team landed defensive back Malcolm Jenkins with the 14th overall selection in the first round, and punter Thomas Morstead in the fifth round as the 164th overall selection. However, the other two players selected are the subject focus on our biggest draft misses under Sean Payton: A pair of Wake Forest defenders, Chip Vaughn and Stanley Arnoux.
Chip Vaughn, Defensive Back
2009 Draft, 4th Round, #116 Overall – Wake Forest
Stanley Arnoux, Linebacker
2009 Draft, 4th Round, #118 Overall – Wake Forest
Chip Vaughn was a top prospect heading into the draft, ranking as NFL Draft Scout’s third best strong safety. He was projected as high as the second round. Vaughn tore his left meniscus in his first week of Saints training camp, and would land on injured reserve for the year. Vaughn would be waived by the Saints on September 4, 2010, and was claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles two days later. Unfortunately, Vaughn’s stint with the Eagles lasted just over two weeks, and he’d be released on September 21.
Vaughn would be picked up by the Indianapolis Colts on October 25, 2010, waived on November 13, re-signed on November 16, and placed on injured reserve a week later. He looked to make a larger impact in 2011, but sealed his own fate by committing two personal foul penalties late in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on August 26, 2011. Vaughn would be waived two days later.
Vaughn resurfaced in 2013, signing a deal in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and has been with them ever since.
Stanley Arnoux was the second fastest linebacker at the NFL Combine, churning in a 4.61 second 40-yard dash. He was the 13th highest ranked linebacker prospects from NFL Draft Scout. In his very first practice at New Orleans Saints rookie camp on May 8, 2009, Arnoux tore his left ACL. He’d sign a four-year contract with the Saints on September 7, 2009, and be placed on injured reserve immediately. Arnoux’s recovery saw him suit up more in 2010, playing in nine total games for the Saints as a special teamer. Unfortunately, Arnoux tore his ACL against the Seattle Seahawks, and landed on injured reserve November 23, 2010. He’d eventually get his release on July 29, 2011. Like Vaughn, Arnoux did get a Super Bowl ring from the 2009 season, but had it stolen in Miami. It was later recovered nearly two years later.
Some players the Saints could have drafted in that Round: CB D.J. Moore (#118), WR Louis Murphy (#124), WR Austin Collie (#127), FB Tony Fiammetta (#128), RB Andre Brown (#129)
The tape looked good on both, but it didn’t transpire on the field. Injuries hurt in more ways than one.
Stay tuned as we count down the biggest busts and misses leading up to the NFL Draft!
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