The Saints have made a living scooping up untapped talent in the middle-to-late rounds of drafts and turning them into all pros, especially along the offensive line.
In 2006, the Saints had just recruited Drew Brees to take his talents to the Big Easy. After making such a splash in the free agent market, the front office needed to ensure that Brees had an offensive line capable of protecting him.
And in stepped Jahri Evans.
Evans was a little-known lineman out of Bloomsburg University. Standing at 6-foot-4 and just over 310 lbs. he had the ideal body for an offensive guard, but there were questions about how he would stack up against NFL competition.
From day one it was obvious Evans would stack up just fine.
He rose quickly to the starting slot at right guard and has thrived, being selected to five straight Pro Bowls. What’s more, he’s remained with the Saints despite the opportunity to turn-tail and run (a la Jermon Bushrod or fellow guard Carl Nicks), and he has yet to suffer a major injury. All of that has added up to a Super Bowl title, nearly nine years of excellence at right guard, and a lot less laundry work on the number nine jerseys for the equipment manager.
Congratulations, Jahri. You’re our choice for best Saints’ draft pick of all time at offensive guard/center.