Saints’ draft history in the first round hasn’t been all that pretty in recent years

The New Orleans Saints have a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but the franchise hasn’t been that good at selecting players in the first round lately.
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Chargers
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Chargers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints are gearing up for the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s a a draft where New Orleans currently has nine total picks, with the first pick coming in the first round at No. 14. All teams hope to have a first-round pick. While great players are selected in every round of the draft, the best prospects are typically selected in the first round.

Unfortunately, the first round hasn’t been kind to the Saints in recent years. New Orleans has a great track record in the draft, finding several gems in later rounds, and just overall selecting players who develop into contributing players for the Saints. However, that hasn’t been the case in the first round over the last few drafts.

The 2017 Draft was one of the best for New Orleans in the history of the franchise. The elite draft class started with first-round selections of Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk. There’s no doubt that the Saints hit on both players. However, the five first-round selections since haven’t had the same success rate.

In 2018, New Orleans drafted Marcus Davenport in the first round. In 2020, Cesar Ruiz was taken in round one by the Saints. A year later, New Orleans used its first-round pick on Payton Turner. In 2022, the Saints selected Chris Olave in the first round, and just last year, in 2023, the team drafted Bryan Bresee.

Saints haven’t found many stars in the first round of recent drafts

New Orleans definitely hit on Cesar Ruiz and Chris Olave. Both guys have been impact players since joining the franchise. Marcus Davenport wasn’t a bust, recording 21.5 sacks in five years with the team, but he certainly left a lot to be desired. Trevor Penning has yet to deliver after just two seasons with the team, and Payton Turner has only appeared in 15 games in three years. Bryan Bresee is coming off a promising rookie season, so there’s still hope for him.

All in all, the first-round hasn’t produced many stars for the Saints in their last five attempts. But ultimately, that’s the name of the draft. The entire event is just gambling, hoping that the selected players can develop into someone special in the league. That’s what New Orleans will aim for when they draft a player 14th-overall in this upcoming draft.