Entering the 2012 NFL Draft, the Saints find themselves without a first or second round selection for the first time in franchise history. However, since 2006, the team has been able to find four pro-bowlers and many more starters in rounds three through seven.
In 2006, the Saints were able to add two offensive linemen that have been staples on the offensive line. The team selected Guard Jahri Evans out of Bloomsburg in the fourth round and Zach Strief from Northwestern in the seventh round. Evans has started all 96 regular season games and eight postseason contests the Saints have played since his arrival and has been named to three consecutive Pro Bowls for the Saints. Strief has appeared in 82 games since joining the NFL ranks. Strief and Evans were both integral parts of an offensive line along with 2007 fourth round draft pick and left tackle Jermon Bushrod that captured the 2011 Madden Protectors Offensive Line of the Year award.
The Saints also selected wide receiver Marques Colston from Hofstra in the seventh round of the 2006 draft. Colston is the only player in team history to have a pair of back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons and ranks first in the record books with five seasons over the 1,000 yard mark. Since 2006, Colston has been able to register 6,240 receiving yards and 48 touchdown grabs, ranked third and second in club record books respectively.
The Saints were able to find another late round steal in 2007 with Bushrod. Drafted in the fourth round out of Towson, Bushrod has anchored the left side of the offensive line at tackle while protecting Quarterback Drew Brees' blind side since 2009. Bushrod has started 46 games over the past three seasons and was named to his first Pro bowl in 2011.
Carl Nicks was selected in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. Nicks started at left guard for four consecutive seasons, ending with two consecutive pro bowl appearances. One of those appearances came in 2010, the first season in franchise history that the Saints have had two guards selected to the Pro Bowl.
In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Saints selected Punter Thomas Morstead from Southern Methodist University in the fifth round. He quickly developed into one of the strongest legs in the league, averaging 45.8 yards on 161 punts while placing 52 punts inside the 20 yard line. Morstead has also boomed 105 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
In the third round of the 2010 draft, the Saints selected basketball player turned tight end Jimmy Graham. The University of Miami product finished 2011 ranked first on the Saints in catches, receiving yardage, and touchdown grabs. Graham recorded 1,310 yards on a franchise-record 99 catches in 2011 with 11 touchdown receptions on his way to his first Pro Bowl selection. Graham has been an explosive red zone target for the Black and Gold, catching 16 touchdown passes over the past two seasons after playing only one season of college football.