Saints First Round Draft Picks Under Sean Payton

A look back at the first round draft picks made by the Saints under Sean Payton, as well as some interesting data behind the picks.
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The New Orleans Saints have had 16 total selections in the first round of the NFL draft under Sean Payton. Two years saw the team without a first round selection. The first came in the 2012 season, which was dealt in conjunction with a 2011 second round pick to the Patriots to get an additional 2011 first-rounder to select Mark Ingram. The second was in 2019 due to the previous year's trade with the Packers to nab Marcus Davenport. 

Here's how the Saints have drafted in Round One since 2006.

  • 2020 - 24th Overall: Cesar Ruiz, OL, Michigan
  • 2018 - 14th Overall: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
  • 2017 - 11th Overall: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State | 32nd Overall: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
  • 2016 - 12th Overall: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
  • 2015 - 13th Overall: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford | 31st Overall: Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson
  • 2014 - 20th Overall: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
  • 2013 - 15th Overall: Kenny Vaccaro, DB, Texas
  • 2011 - 24th Overall: Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal | 28th Overall: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
  • 2010 - 32nd Overall: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
  • 2009 - 14th Overall: Malcolm Jenkins, DB, Ohio State
  • 2008 - 7th Overall: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
  • 2007 - 27th Overall: Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
  • 2006 - 2nd Overall: Reggie Bush, RB, USC

While it's not an exact science on who the team takes, we can always see interesting trends. The data behind these 16 picks breaks down like this: Seven of the selections were on offense, while nine were on defense. Only four times have the Saints taken skill positions in the first round, and have not done so since Brandin Cooks was drafted in 2014. Seven of those selections have included both offensive and defensive linemen, while four were used on the secondary. The lone anomaly was when the team drafted linebacker Stephone Anthony as part of the Jimmy Graham trade with the Seahawks.

Half of the years the Saints have had a first round pick has seen them draft 15th or higher, while the other half is in the later part of the opening round. We looked at the draft trades made by New Orleans on Thursday, and is it relates to moving up, the team has done it five times: 2018 (27th to 14th), 2017 (using Cooks in a package for 32nd), 2014 (27th to 20th), 2011 (additional selection to get 28th), and 2008 (10th to 7th).

Of the picks made, eight of those players are still with the team, which includes second stints from Malcolm Jenkins after reuniting last season on a free agent contract and bringing back Patrick Robinson in 2018. Three players, all coincidentally drafted between 2006-2008, are retired, while two (Stephone Anthony and Kenny Vaccaro) are not with a team currently.

New Orleans holds the 28th pick in the draft this year, having a total of eight selections. Last year, New Orleans had the fewest selections at four. Here's how they stand, as we're now less than two weeks away from opening night festivities.

  • Round One, 28th Overall 
  • Round Two, 60th Overall
  • Round Three, 98th Overall
  • Round Three, 105th Overall
  • Round Four, 133rd Overall
  • Round Six, 218th Overall
  • Round Seven, 229th Overall
  • Round Seven, 255th Overall