Over the past 20 years, the New Orleans Saints have drafted a player from their backyard just three times, including just one in the first three rounds (WR Devery Henderson, Round 2, 2004).
The passionate football fans of Louisiana have yet to put the finger on why the Black and Gold rarely drafts their beloved boys in the Purple and Gold. Though there is no clear-cut answer for the lack of LSU Tigers drafted by the New Orleans Saints, the draft trends over the past 20+ years are reason enough for fans to assume that the organization may not like drafting from their in-state collegiate powerhouse.
Since the Saints franchise began in 1967, only 11 Louisiana State players have been drafted by New Orleans. Some found great success with the Saints, while others failed even to crack the 53-man roster. Below is a full list of Tigers that the Saints drafted.
List of every LSU Tiger Selected by the New Orleans Saints
- 1967: DL Earl Leggett, Expansion draft
- 1969: WR Tommy Morel, 11th round, No. 267 overall
- 1975: RB Steve Rogers, 7th round, No. 163 overall
- 1981: RB/FB Hokie Gajan, 10th round, No. 249 overall
- 1985: WR Eric Martin, 7th round, No. 179 overall
- 1986: RB Dalton Hilliard, 2nd round, No. 31 overall
- 1989: DB Michael Mayes, 4th round, No. 106 overall
- 1997: TE Nicky Savoie, 6th round, No. 165 overall
- 2004: WR Devery Henderson, 2nd round, No. 50 overall
- 2010: DT Al Woods, 4th round, No. 123 overall
- 2018: OL Will Clapp, 7th round, No. 245 overall
The most notable from the list includes Super Bowl XLIV Champion WR Devery Henderson, Saints Legend on the field and in the radio booth RB/FB Hokie Gajan, and Saints Hall of Fame member RB Dalton Hilliard.
Other Saints draft selections from LSU like DT Al Woods, WR Tommy Morel, TE Nicky Savoie, and DB Michael Hayes had very short stints with the team and in the NFL.
LSU is not churning out the same amount of talent in the 2021 NFL Draft as they did the year before (seeing all 11 offensive starters find an NFL home). However, much like last year, the Saints could find themselves with a difficult choice regarding an LSU linebacker.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Saints passed on LSU LB Patrick Queen in favor of Michigan OL Cesar Ruiz in the first round. In this year's draft, LB Jabril Cox is expected to slide into the second round where the Saints not only have a pick but a positional need. The team needs to find a linebacker to play alongside All-Pro LB Demario Davis.
Saints News Network's Bob Rose described Cox as "a bit raw, but proved he is up to challenges with his play in the SEC last season." Rose continued to say, "He’ll [Cox] need to refine his play as a run defender, but has the aptitude for a high upside. His athletic talents and natural coverage skills will make him an immediate contributor, and he has the instincts to develop into a top NFL linebacker in a short period of time."
The New Orleans Saints have eight selections in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft and the opportunity to select the LSU Tiger for the 12th time in franchise history.
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