If recent history can be used for the divine future, don’t bet that the New Orleans Saints are satisfied with the five draft 2020 elections they currently have.
And while you do, it’s not wise to put money on them to get back in the concept to get more assets to work on.
Since general manager Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton first began their partnership in 2006, the Saints have carried out at least one mandatory trade in all except one year – 2012.
They get used to aggressively chasing the players they want. Of the 20 draft trading days designed by the Saints during the Loomis-Payton era, 17 of them involved teams that gave up assets for a higher pick, including each of the last 16 draft trading days. The Saints have not been traded in the draft since 2007.
That means the Saints trade at some point in 11 of the last 12 drafts. And history shows us one more thing: The Saints have been valued for their aggressiveness, often on targets after they have decided to pull the trigger.
What follows is the view of the Saints who pushed, handled the historical plan under their current leadership.
Since 2006, 20 draft trading days by the Saints have produced 23 choices and two veteran players (they packed one of the choices they got by trading, the fourth round of last year, to go up again). The acquisition spent 37 total picks.
So, through its aggressiveness, New Orleans has consistently placed itself in deficit in terms of the total number of picks, and therefore it consistently pressures itself to improve those picks.
The strongest evidence in support of the Saints who often do it right is the fact that this is the 15th draft of Loomis and Payton will work together. But other figures support that conclusion too.
The 24 players that Saints obtained through draft trading today have gone on to get five first-team All-Pro honors, 16 Pro Bowl places and one Rookie of the Year award while wearing a Saints uniform.
The 36 players chosen with the picks sold by Saints have joined to get three All-Pro titles (Green Bay handles David Bakhtiari, Indianapolis Pat McAfee player and New England midfielder Jerod Mayo) and eight Pro Bowls with the team that designed them. This figure does not include the second round of New Orleans 2020, which they traded to Miami last year to go up and choose center Erik McCoy in the second round.
By using the “Estimated Value” statistics of the Pro Soccer Reference, which tries to measure the value of players to the team in a given year, the Saints come out far ahead of their peers in the swap of choice.
The 24 players Saints gained in draft-day trading accumulated a total of an estimated total value of 520 during their time in the Saints uniform, more than 25 points higher than the 36 players recruited with the Saints exchanged picks (494).
The Saints have done well in the acquisition of players whether trading up or down.
They sent a seventh round and a second round in the future to San Francisco in 2017 to go up and bring Alvin Kamara, who has the highest estimated career value of every player in the class. The Saints traded twice in last year’s draft and landed two promising beginners at McCoy and C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
Back in their first joint draft, Loomis and Payton traded down twice. They changed their second-round selection (which turned into a solid player, midfielder D’Qwell Jackson) to two years as midfielder Jeff Faine and eight seasons with safe player Roman Harper.
They traded again in the fourth round of the same draft, sending pick No. 99 to Philadelphia to overcome veteran Hollis Thomas and pick No. 108. Thomas started 26 games in two seasons in New Orleans, but the choice was No. 108 was used on Jahri Evans, who was the All-Pro first team four times and went to six Pro Bowls.
Under Loomis and Payton, the Saints had traded in the first, fourth and fifth rounds four times each, the second and third rounds twice each and once in the seventh round.
Trades down are listed in italics. This list does not include trades completed before the draft, such as the March 2017 trade between the Saints and Patriots who sent Brandin Cooks and the fourth round pick to New England for the first and third round picks (further below).
- Traded 2-62 (Andy Isabella), 6-202 (Prince Isaiah) and 2020 second round to Miami
- Receive 2-48 (Erik McCoy) and 4-116 (hereinafter traded)
- Traded 4-116 (Amani Hooker) and 5-168 (De’Andre Walker) to the New York Jets
- Received 4-105 (C.J. Gardner-Johnson)
Analysis: Both McCoy and Gardner-Johnson changed in their strong appearance as beginners. The second round of 2020 Saints sent to Miami for McCoy was still there, but in terms of estimated values (AV), the Saints were 10-4 ahead in the first year after this trade was carried out.
- Traded 1-27 (Rashaad Penny), 5-147 (Micah Kiser) and 2019 1st rounder (Deandre Baker) to Green Bay
- Receive 1-14 (Marcus Davenport)
- Traded 7-229 (Adrian Colbert) and 2018 2nd rounder (Derrius Guice) to San Francisco
- Receive 3-67 (Alvin Kamara)
Analysis: Come to think of it, it’s easy to see the Saints destroy this trade. Kamara is Rookie of the Year of the Year 2017, and his 41 AV career is the highest in this class for three years (slightly ahead of NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and teammate Ryan Ramczyk, both aged 39).
- Traded 3-78 (Joe Thuney) and 4-112 (Malcolm Mitchell) to New England
- Accepted 2-61 (Vonn Bell)
- Traded 5-152 (Mat Ionnidas) and 2017 5th Rounder (Jeremy Sprinkle) to Washington
- Received 4-120 (David Onyemata)
- Traded 6-187 (Evan Spencer) and 2016 6th rounder (Nate Sudfeld) to Washington
- Received 5-167 (Damian Swann)
- Traded 1-27 (Deone Bucannon) and 3-91 (John Brown) to Arizona
- Received 1-20 (Brandon Cooks)
Analysis: Cooks only spent three seasons with Saints, so at first sight Saints came out as losers in this trade when comparing the AVs recorded by these players with the teams that compiled them (both Bucannon and Brown have since moved to a new team). But Cooks received 1,000 yards after receiving his last two years with New Orleans, before the team sent him and chose the fourth round to New England for the first round (Ramczyk) and the third round (Trey Hendrickson).
- Traded 4-106 (Dion Sims) and 4-109 (David Bakhtiari) to Miami
- Received 3-82 (John Jenkins)
- Traded 2-56 (Shane Vereen) and the first round of 2012 (Kevin Zeitler) to New England
- Received 1-28 (Mark Ingram)
- Traded 4-130 (O’Brien Schofield) and 6-201 (Jorrick Calvin) to Arizona
- Received 4-123 (Al Woods)
- 4th rounder of 2011 traded (Chris Prosinski) to Jacksonville
- Received 5-158 (Matt Tennant)
- Traded 7-222 (Pat McAfeee) and the fifth round of 2010 (Reshad Jones) to Philadelphia
- Received 5-164 (Thomas Morstead)
Analysis: A rare final round of trading that works for everyone (well, except Philadelphia). Morstead has been an institution in New Orleans since he was recruited. The Eagles trade the seventh rounder for the sixth in the future for the Colts, who choose their own Pro Bowl players at Pat McAfee. The fifth round of 2010 swapped hands four more times (several players included in the next trade: Linebacker Will Witherspoon and defender Adam Carriker) before finally landing with Miami. Dolphins use a pick on the safety of Pro Bowl twice Reshad Jones.
- Traded 1-10 (Jerod Mayo) and 3-78 (Sean Crable) to New England
- Receive 1-7 (Sedrick Ellis) and 5-164 (Carl Nicks)
- Traded 5-146 (Jerome Felton) and 7-218 (Caleb Campbell) to Detroit
- Receive 5-144 (Demario Pressley)
- Traded the 6th Rounder 2009 (Brandon Underwood) to Green Bay
- Receiving 7-237 (Adrian Arrington)
- Traded 2-58 (Ikaika Alama-Francis) to Detroit
- Received 3-66 (Usama Young) and 5-145 (David Jones)
- Traded 4-123 (Fred Bennett) and 5-163 (Brandon Frye) to Houston
- Received 4-123 (Antonio Pittman)
- Traded 2-34 (D’Hwell Jackson) to Cleveland
- Receive Jeff Faine’s C and 2-43 (Roman Harper)
- Traded 4-99 (Max Jean-Gilles) to Philadelphia
- Receive DT Hollis Thomas and 4-108 (Jahri Evans)
Analysis: Loomis and Payton were traded twice in their first draft together, and the second trade netted a cornerstone. Jahri Evans wore the Pro Bowls Saints sixth uniform, and his career in 142 AV was the ninth highest among the guards in NFL history, according to the Pro Football Reference database.