Ranking every New Orleans Saints starting QB since 2000

Leigh Oleszczak
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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The New Orleans Saints have had 11 different quarterbacks since the new millennium. Who were the best and who were the worst? Let’s rank them. 

When the year 2000 kicked off, the New Orleans Saints were coming off a 3-13 campaign in 1999 and couldn’t wait for the turn of the century to maybe jumpstart their luck. The 2000 season, at that time, was one of the best seasons in franchise history, as the team made the playoffs for the first time since 1992.

Jeff Blake and Aaron Brooks got the Saints to that pinnacle and Brooks took over the mantle as New Orleans’ starting quarterback for the next five years. Todd Bouman got three random starts during that time as well.

We all know what happened next for the black and gold. Drew Brees was signed as a free agent and he went on to spend the next 15 years in New Orleans, helping the team hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history. When he wasn’t starting, there were some spot starts by guys like Mark Brunell, Luke McCown, and Teddy Bridgewater.

Brees called it a career following the 2020 season and four different guys started for the Saints in 2021. That brings the list of Saints starting quarterbacks since 2000 to 11, as of this writing. Now it’s time to rank them!

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

Ranking every New Orleans Saints QB since 2000

11. Ian Book

With their fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft, the Saints selected Ian Book and the plan certainly wasn’t to throw him out there as a rookie. Unfortunately, due to injuries or positive COVID-19 cases to the other three eligible quarterbacks on the roster, Book was thrust into action and it didn’t go well.

Not only was Book not ready for primetime (the Saints played on Monday night that week) but the rest of the team wasn’t either, as a lot of the roster had been ravaged with positive COVID cases. Book was sacked a whopping eight times and while not all of them were his fault, he held onto the ball too long and ended the night with just 135 passing yards and two interceptions. Not good.

It wasn’t fair for Book to be put into that situation but it also wouldn’t be fair to not have him in the worst spot on this list. Maybe he gets another start down the line and can move up but for now, he lands here.

10. Mark Brunell

A fifth-round pick in 1993, Mark Brunell was well past his prime when he signed with the Saints in 2008 to be Drew Brees’ backup. Fortunately, he didn’t see much playing time and ended up starting just one game during his two years in the Big Easy.

Brunell started the Saints’ 2009 season finale against the Panthers and went 15-of-29 for 102 yards and a pick. The team lost by 13 points but it wasn’t a big deal since the team was already locked in as the top seed on the NFC side. The team went on to win the Super Bowl a month later.

9. Luke McCown

Louisiana Tech alum Luke McCown signed with the Saints in 2013 with the goal that he’d rarely see any playing time, if any. Unfortunately, Brees suffered an injury during the 2015 season and McCown had to step in for one start. He did okay, passing for 335 yards and an interception in a loss to Houston. He was a decent backup and put up okay numbers but this feels like the right spot for him on the rankings.

8. Todd Bouman

In 2003, the Saints signed Todd Bouman to backup Aaron Brooks. He made his first start with the Saints during the 2005 season where he ended up starting three games and went 0-3. He threw for 803 yards, three touchdowns, and seven interceptions during that span. Bouman wasn’t awful but he wasn’t good either so this spot makes sense for him.

7. Trevor Siemian

In 2021, the Saints carried four quarterbacks on their roster and Trevor Siemian was the backup. Jameis Winston got injured in Week 7, Taysom Hill was already banged up, and Ian Book was a rookie, so Siemian got the nod to start four games until Hill was able to return.

Siemian wasn’t as bad as the 0-4 record would indicate, as his offensive playmakers didn’t help him out much. He threw for 924 yards, eight touchdowns, and three picks in his four starts. The numbers look fine and that was the consensus with Siemian — He was fine.

6. Jeff Blake

After six years in Cincinnati, the Saints brought Blake in to be their starting quarterback and he started 11 games in 2000. Blake led the team to a 7-4 record and threw for 2,025 yards, 13 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. An injury ended his season and in stepped Aaron Brooks, who then won the starting job from then on. Blake made starts with the Ravens and Cardinals after his time in New Orleans ended.

It was kind of hard to place Blake because he did lead the team to a winning record but he was replaced by a guy who wasn’t supposed to be in that role. This feels like a decent spot for him on these rankings.

5. Jameis Winston

In 2015, the Buccaneers drafted Jameis Winston with the first overall pick and that meant New Orleans was going to play against him quite a bit. When the Bucs signed Tom Brady in 2020, that obviously meant Winston wasn’t coming back to Tampa Bay and he then signed with the Saints to backup Drew Brees.

When Brees got hurt that year, Taysom Hill got the nod to start over Winston so we barely saw him play that year. He re-signed with the team in 2021, beat Hill out for the starting job and was looking decent until an ACL injury ended his season just seven games in. He threw for 1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, and three picks.

Winston is back for a third season with the Saints. Maybe he moves up this list after the 2022 season but for now, he sits here.

4. Taysom Hill

It was hard to decipher how many starts Taysom Hill has had in his career because he’s started at other positions than quarterback during his career. I only included the starts he’s made at quarterback and for the most part, he’s been dependable.

The biggest thing to note with Hill is that the team has won when he’s under center, as he’s posted a 7-2 record as a starter. During his four starts in 2020, Hill threw for 928 yards and four touchdowns while tossing two picks. The next year in five starts, he passed for 978 yards, four touchdowns, and five picks.

What has always made Hill stand out from the pack is his ability to step into any role and do it admirably. He wasn’t the best passer but when he was quarterback, he was able to also make moves with his legs, scampering for 209 yards and four touchdowns during his starts in 2020 and 270 yards and two scores in 2021.

Hill might not be the best quarterback in the world but he’s been one of the Saints’ best at the position since 2000.

3. Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater has had a strange career in the NFL. A once first-round pick by the Vikings in 2014, Bridgewater had a tramautic injury in camp that not only could have ended his career but could have cost him his life yet is still around and slinging it in the NFL.

The Saints traded for Bridgewater, who was with the Jets at the time, ahead of the 2018 season and he ended up re-signing with them in 2019 as well. During his two years in the Big Easy, Bridgewater made six starts but most fans remember him for those five games he started in 2019 when Brees was out with an injury to his finger.

In those five starts, Bridgewater threw for 1,205 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions en route to a 5-0 record. It was sad to see him leave following the season but he did exactly what was asked of a backup quarterback during his time in New Orleans.

2. Aaron Brooks

A fourth-round by the Packers in 1999, Brooks found his way to New Orleans in the 2000 season and no one really expected him to become what he did. He took over for an injured Jeff Blake and not only helped get the team to the playoffs for the first time since 1992 but got the franchise it’s first-ever playoff win.

Brooks ended up spending six years in the Big Easy and ended up starting 82 games for the organization. During those starts, he passed for 18,969 yards and 120 touchdowns while rushing for 1,410 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s the obvious choice for the two-spot here and the one-spot is also obvious.

1. Drew Brees

Wow, what a shocker! Drew Brees was the only option to be No. 1 here. The dude played for the team for 15 years, leads the organization in passing yards with 68,010 yards, led the team to their first Super Bowl title, and changed the entire culture of Saints football.

It really truly sucks that Brees was only able to win one Super Bowl during his career but at least he got that one. Saints fans are looking forward to the day when he gets into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Related Story. All-Time Leaders in Passing Yards. light

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