In 2017, behind the efforts of Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis and Assistant General Manager Jeff Ireland, the New Orleans Saints put together one of the best draft classes in franchise history and one of the most decorated rookie classes in NFL history.
In the first round, the Saints selected cornerback Marshon Lattimore (11) and tackle Ryan Ramczyk (32). Lattimore went on to have a breakout rookie season with 53 tackles, ranked fifth in the league in interceptions (five), and sixth in pass deflections (18). Lattimore won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and was a Pro Bowl selection. Ramczyk started every game his rookie season and was an instrumental member of the Saints offensive line.
New Orleans chose safety Marcus Williams in the second round (42) from Utah. In 15 starts, Williams ranked second on the team in interceptions (four) and came up with seven pass deflections and 71 combined tackles.
The biggest steal of the draft came in the third round. Running back Alvin Kamara out of the University of Tennessee was still on the board for the Saints to take with the 67th pick. Linebacker Alex Anzalone (76) from the University of Florida and Florida Atlantic defensive end Trey Hendrickson (103) were selected later in the third round.
Kamara took the league by storm and ended up being a great pairing with Mark Ingram. In his first season, Kamara played all 16 games and rushed for 728 yards on 120 carries for eight touchdowns. He added an additional 826 yards on 81 receptions and five touchdowns. Along with a Pro Bowl selection, Kamara was voted Offensive Rookie of the Year by The Associated Press.
Anzalone was an immediate starter and strong presence for the Saints linebacker corps but injured his shoulder in the fourth game of the season and was sidelined for the remainder of the year. Patience and rehabilitation paid off for Anzalone who had a strong 2018 season with 59 tackles, two sacks, and one interception.
With their final selection in the 2017 draft, the Saints selected defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad out of Miami. Muhammad played four games with the Saints in his rookie season, and signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.
Ireland received Inside the League's award for best draft in February 2018, after the majority of his draft picks made a splash in their rookie season.
Lattimore, Ramczyk, Williams, Kamara, Anzalone, and Hendrickson continue to prove their worth and show their impact on the New Orleans roster.
Draft held April 27, 2017 - April 29, 2017
- a. Marshon Lattimore, CB (11), Ohio State
b. Ryan Ramczyk, T (32), Wisconsin (Choice acquired from New England along with #103 in exchange for WR Brandin Cooks and #118)
- Marcus Williams, S (42), Utah
- a. Alvin Kamara, RB (67), Tennessee (Choice acquired from San Francisco in exchange for #229 and a 2018 second round pick)
b. Alex Anzalone, LB (76), Florida
c. Trey Henrickson, DE (103), Florida Atlantic
- (#118) Traded to New England
- (#154) Traded to Washington along with #152 last year for the right to select DT David Onyemata
- Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE (196), Miami
- (#229) Traded to San Francisco