11. Will Smith
Drafted 18th overall in 2004
After a stellar career at Ohio State (we all know how much the Saints love Buckeye players), fans were elated when NOLA took Will Smith in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Smith went on to spend the entirety of his 10-year career in the Big Easy and along the way, garnered a Pro Bowl appearance.
That Pro Bowl season came in 2006 when Smith racked up 52 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 10.5 sacks through 14 starts. He was a beast that year but it’s surprising to see that Smith only made it to the Pro Bowl once during his nine-year career.
One of the best things about Smith was his durability, as he appeared in double-digit games in every single season. The most games he missed during a season were two, proving that he was reliable for the defense during the prime of his career.
His career ended, however, when he suffered a torn ACL in the 2013 preseason and missed the entire year. He was cut the following offseason, tried to make it on the Patriots’ roster, but it didn’t happen for him, so he called it a career.
In total, Smith finished his NFL career with 463 tackles, 85 tackles for loss, and 67.5 sacks over the span of nine years.
Sadly, Smith passed away in 2016 when he was shot and killed after a traffic collision in New Orleans. He was 34 years old.