13. Carl Nicks
Drafted 168th overall in 2008
A fifth-round pick isn’t supposed to become an All-Pro player but that’s exactly what the Saints landed when they took Carl Nicks in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. The Nebraska Cornhusker immediately found himself on the starting offensive line, serving as the left guard and it’s a position he held onto until the end of his Saints tenure in 2011.
Nicks played so well in the 2010 and 2011 seasons that it became evident he would be too rich for New Orleans’ blood when the former Husker eventually hit the free-agent market. He was a fringe-All-Pro player in 2010 and finally was named to the All-Pro team in 2011 after a splendid season at left guard.
Sure enough, Nicks signed elsewhere in the 2012 offseason, landing with the rival Buccaneers. It was a smart move not retaining Nicks, however, as he went on to appear in just nine games for Tampa over the span of two years despite inking a five-year deal.
Before Nicks signed with Tampa, however, he was one of the best players on the Saints’ roster. The fact that the team found an All-Pro left guard in the fifth round shows how good of a draft pick he truly was.