With the seventh overall pick in the 1975 NFL draft, the Saints shocked their fans by drafting a track star from Purdue.
Larry Burton’s case is a perfect example of a team reaching to fill a perceived hole in their squad. Burton had fantastic straight line speed, but little more to add to an offense. In essence, coach John North and director of player personnel Bob Whitman were following what is now known as the ‘Al Davis philosophy of drafting’.
In addition to continuously being plagued by minor pulls and strains, Burton’s hands left a lot to be desired.
According to New Orleans Times-Picayune sports editor Peter Finney, “Larry Burton had 9.3 speed and 11.5 hands”.
To add insult to injury, receivers the likes of Fred Solomon and Rick Upchurch were drafted after Burton, who only managed 35 catches and four total touchdowns in three awful years with the Saints. Not only that, they were forced to spend the third overall pick the year they released Burton to correct their mistake (which luckily they did by selecting Wes Chandler).
Six Pro Bowlers were drafted within the top 20 picks in the 1975 NFL draft; unfortunately for New Orleans, seventh overall selection Larry Burton was not one of them.
To find out the Saints’ best all-time selection at wide receiver, click here.