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NFL Draft 2011: Not too early to call Saints First Round haul the best in franchise history

NEW ORLEANS – It’s time to put the New Orleans Saints’ first-round talent hunt in perspective.

• California DE Cameron Jordan at No. 24.  

• Alabama RB Mark Ingram at No. 28 (choice acquired from New England for No. 56 pick and No. 1 pick in 2012).  

Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Dave WilsonFormer New Orleans Saints quarterback Dave Wilson
No offense to Dave Wilson, but this year's 1st round ranks 1st in Saints history already.

I’m going to go out on a limb and call this the “BEST FIRST ROUND IN FRANCHISE HISTORY.’’ On paper, of course, because neither player has yet to break a sweat in the National Football League.  

Keep in mind, it’s happened only three times prior to Thursday night when two players were taken by the Black and Gold in the first round. In 1981, the Saints took QB Dave Wilson in the first round of the supplemental draft, packaging him in a sense with RB George Rogers, the No. 1 overall pick in the regular draft.  

But don’t believe me: Check your reference material. Which year is better?  

-- 1975: WR Larry Burton, No. 7, Purdue; G Kurt Schumacher, No. 12, Ohio State (choice acquired from New York Jets for Billy Newsome).  

-- 1981: RB George Rogers, No. 1, South Carolina; QB Dave Wilson, Illinois (taken in the first round of the supplemental draft).  

-- 1993: OT Willie Roaf, No. 8, Louisiana Tech (choice acquired from Detroit for OLB Pat Swilling); TE Irv Smith, No. 20, Notre Dame (choice acquired from Phoenix through San Francisco in exchange of first-round picks).  

-- 2002: WR Donte’ Stallworth, No. 13, Tennessee; DE Charles Grant, No. 25, Georgia (choice acquired from Miami with No. 125 pick for RB Ricky Williams and No. 114 pick).  

Again, I am basing my opinion solely on the analysis of Jordan and Ingram by the so-called experts (both inside the NFL and outside) upon entering the draft.  

Jordan easily could have gone in the top tier of the first round, certainly in the top 20 picks. And Ingram, a junior who won the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, is the consensus No. 1 rated running back in the draft.  

Until proven wrong, Jordan and Ingram comprise the Saints’ best-ever first-round haul in franchise history. That distinction and $2.45 will get you a Venti-size cup of dark roast at Starbucks. Trust me on that one. 

Now all they have to do is fulfill those lofty expectations, which often is easier said than done. 

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Saints beat writer Brian Allee-Walsh can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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