Football Season is right around the corner. As Sean Payton enters his 13th season as head coach, he will go down as the most successful coach in Saints history no matter what happens from here on out. He probably crossed that territory before his suspension in 2012. Some of the best players and moments in Saints history have come under Payton. I wanted to put together the All Sean Payton Team heading into what could be Drew Brees’ final year. The team will be compiled of the best players at every position currently.
QB – Drew Brees
62,089 Yards – 440 TDs – 180 INTs – 68.5% Completion Rate
I really had a tough debate here between him and Chase Daniel. I mean, if Chase Daniel played in 2009, they go 16-0 and curb stomp the Colts. They probably hoist at least 4 more Lombardis too. But this isn’t about what ifs.
RB – Mark Ingram
6,007 Rush Yards – 1,598 Receiving Yards – 55 TDs
Ingram is my guy. I loved it the second they drafted him and he didn’t disappoint. It was sad to see him leave this offseason. But he arguably goes down as the best back in Saints history.
RB – Pierre Thomas
3,745 Rush Yards – 4.6 YPC – 2,608 Rec Yards – 40 Total TDs
PT Cruiser baby. He was a total swiss army knife for the Saints for so many years. When injuries happened, who was there to tote the rock? Pierre Thomas. Quiet. Humble. Just a guy who could get it done. Also ran one of the best screens. Deuce only had one solid year with Payton. Kamara likely takes this spot after this season and definitely by the end of next season.
WR – Michael Thomas
321 Receptions – 3,787 Yards – 23 TDs
He will go down as the best receiver in Saints history, period. He is already on his way. He is the first receiver since Joe Horn who was truly an elite threat on the outside. He is already a steal coming from the second round in 2016.
WR – Marques Colston
711 Receptions – 9.759 Yards – 72 TDs
I love Colston as much as the next Who Dat. But let’s call a spade, a spade. If there was a Hall of Really Good, he would be first ballot. He was never in the elite conversation. But Top 15-20, he was always there. For so many years, he was the bailout on third downs for Brees.
TE – Jimmy Graham
386 Receptions – 4,752 Yards – 51 TDs
I still remember taking a dump on this pick in the 2010 draft thinking why on Earth did they do that? I was wrong. Dead wrong. He became not only a dominant tight end, but one of my favorite players in the league. It was a shame to see him get traded, but I understood why. They got a good bang for their buck.
LT – Terron Armstead
2018 2nd Team All-Pro
I just wish he could stay healthy. But when he is, boy is he a force to be reckoned with? The Saints have had some quality tackles come through over the years. But none with the same dominance and upside as Armstead.
LG – Carl Nicks
2nd Team All-Pro 2010 – 1st Team All-Pro 2011
To show my love for the big guys up front, I bought a Carl Nicks jersey after the 2009 season. He was a stud. Although it was a short career for him in black and gold, it was a quality one.
C – Max Unger
Pro Bowl 2018
Ah the part of the Graham trade that worked. Bottom line, if someone is willing to give up a first and an all-pro offensive lineman for a guy who catches passes, you do it. The second I saw Unger was part of the deal, I said do it now. As much as I loved Jimmy, that was too good to pass up. He instantly made the Saints once great offensive line back to top notch.
RG – Jahri Evans
4x 1st Team All-Pro – 2nd Team All-Pro
You familiar with Bloomsburg? Neither was anyone else when he was drafted. In Payton’s first season, he grabbed Evans with his fourth rounder and he became an absolute stud for many years.
RT – Ryan Ramcyzk
2nd Team All-Pro 2018
Although still young and a long journey ahead, Ram is a total boss and better than any right tackle the Saints previously had (Jon Stinchcomb and Zac Strief).
DE – Will Smith
67.5 Sacks – 20 Forced Fumbles
RIP to one of the best pass rushers in the Sean Payton era. He also is the only player on this All Sean Payton Team who was drafted by Jim Haslett.
DE – Cam Jordan
71.5 Sacks – 44 Pass Deflections – 98 Tackles for Loss
I still remember hearing the echos that he was a bust early on. I also remember wanting the Saints to take Da’Quan Bowers and I had no idea who he was when they drafted him. After doing some homework on him, I loved the versatility he could bring. He is the cornerstone of the Saints Defense and has been one of the best defensive players in Saints history. He is a leader both in the locker room and on the field. I am a huge mark for Cam as he as established himself as one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the league.
DT – Anthony Hargrove
6.0 Sacks – 3 Fumble Recoveries
The position of DT is very thin. There were many quality guys, but none that really stand out. Although, Sheldon Rankins could be the first. Hargrove was a consistent piece of the Super Bowl defense so I will give him the nod for the 4 sacks that season and high motor he brought.
DT – Sedrick Ellis
12.5 Sacks – 30 QB Hits
What a downfall for him after a promising start. I was a big Ellis fan and was stoked when the Saints grabbed him at number 7 overall. Again, with a lot to be desired on the interior, he gets the nod right now.
OLB – DeMario Davis
110 Tackles – 5 Sacks – 2 Forced Fumbles
Much like DT, there is much to be desired at the outside linebacker spot. Davis gets the nod after a stellar debut for the Saints. He was a brilliant move in the off-season and he delivered.
MLB – Jonathan Vilma
439 Tackles – 26 Tackles for a Loss – 8.0 Sacks
This is a position that the Saints haven’t been very thin at. After Vilma, there was Curtis Lofton who was great and now Alex Anzalone. For now, Vilma will get the nod because he was the guy for the bulk of those deep playoff runs for the Saints.
OLB – Scott Fujita
330 Tackles – 7.5 Sacks – 5 Forced Fumbles
He was a fan favorite and rightfully so. He had nose for finding the ball carrier and taking him down. He was one of the Payton originals and you can still see people wearing their 55 jerseys with Fujita on the back today.
CB – Jabari Greer
257 Tackles – 9 Interceptions – 68 Pass Deflections
Greer was a true number one lock down corner. He rarely gave up big plays and kept everything in front. In a long list of shitty corners, Greer made his presence known from day one and didn’t fit that mold.
CB – Marshon Lattimore
111 Tackles – 7 Interceptions – 30 Pass Deflections
Another young guy drafted in the last 3 years, Lattimore made his presence known as a true lock down corner in year 1. He could be one of the games elites. Although he had a slight dip in production in year two, it is still enough to make a case as a top 10 corner in the league.
FS – Malcolm Jenkins
264 Tackles – 6 Interceptions – 6 Forced Fumbles – 4.5 Sacks – 37 Pass Deflections
This is the one I will catch the most crap for. Jenkins was an animal stuffing the stat sheet. Good at everything, but not really great at anything. When you play free safety and you don’t get picks, people tend to see it as you’re not doing your job. Jenkins was exceptional. Let’s address the Darren Sharper elephant. I didn’t leave him off due to legal issues. I left him off because he had one great season in which he intercepted 9 passes and returned 3 to the house. However, 7 of them came off rookies.
SS – Roman Harper
679 Tackles – 17.0 Sacks – 15 Forced Fumbles – 7 Interceptions
I loved Harper and did from day one. Although he caught a lot of heat, he was a playmaker as long as the game was played in front. Ask him to cover deep, start praying. The guy in the box was a stud though.
K – Will Lutz
87/100 FGs – 148/153 XPs
Another young guy, Lutz took the kicking game by storm after having a handful of kicker run through New Orleans. He seems to have the trust of Sean Payton given the new contract situation.
P – Thomas Morstead
46.9 Yards Per Punt – 199 Inside the 20
Absolute stud in giving the Saints the field position most days. He is and has been one of the league’s best and most underrated punters.
KR – Darren Sproles
1,827 Yards – 26.1 YPR
The only other option here would have been Cortney Roby, however, give Sproles the nod as he has a better average per return.
PR – Reggie Bush
720 Yards – 7.8 YPR – 4 TDs
Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! I miss him, period.