Barring the option of trading up or trading down, the New Orleans Saints will make their first round selection on April 28th with the 24th pick overall. While the choice is towards the end of the first round, looking back at the last ten selections with this pick, several players that have gone on to have outstanding careers have come out of this slot. Nine of the ten players picked at 24th are still playing in the NFL. Below is a review of the last ten 24th selections.
2010: WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State to Dallas Cowboys
2009: DT Peria Jerry, Mississippi to Atlanta Falcons
2008: RB Chris Johnson, East Carolina to Tennessee Titans
2007: S Brandon Meriweather, Miami (Fla.) to New England Patriots
*2006: CB Jonathan Joseph, South Carolina to Cincinnati *
2005: QB Aaron Rodgers, California to Green Bay Packers
2004: RB Steven Jackson, Oregon State to St. Louis Rams
2003: TE Dallas Clark, Iowa to Indianapolis
2002: S Ed Reed, Miami (Fla.) to Baltimore Ravens
2001: CB Willie Middlebrooks, Minnesota to Denver Broncos
From the list above, running backs, cornerbacks and safeties have been selected two times apiece at the 24th slot. Jackson, Johnson, Meriweather and Reed have each gone on to earn multiple Pro Bowl selections, while Clark and Rodgers have gone to the All-Star game once and have led their teams to Super Bowl Championships.
Picking among Johnson, Rodgers, Jackson and Reed would be a difficult decision as each of them have become the dominant players for their respective teams.
Picked by the Tennessee Titans out of East Carolina in 2008, Johnson's carried 925 times for 4,598 yards with 34 touchdowns and has 137 receptions for 1,008 yards with four more touchdowns. In 2009, the three-time Pro Bowler was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year as he broke Marshall Faulk's record of total yards from scrimmage with 2,509.
Chosen by the Green Bay Packers in 2005 as the heir apparent to Brett Favre, Rodgers took over the starting reigns in 2008 and has acquitted himself well, as the only player in NFL history to have had 4,000 passing yards in each of his first two starting seasons, while leading the Packers to the Super Bowl XLV Championship in 2010.
Picked by St. Louis in 2004, Jackson is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, who is the Rams' all-time leading rusher, having surpassed 1,000 yards in six consecutive seasons, leading the NFL with 2,334 total yards from scrimmage in 2006, gaining 10,618 overall in his career.
Reed was chosen by the Baltimore Ravens in 2002. The Destrehan High School product is one of the most dynamic defensive players of All-time, having been selected to the Pro Bowl seven times and being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. This member of the NFL's 2000's All-Decade Team has 54 career picks, including an NFL-best eight in 2010 in only ten games.
Chosen by the Indianapolis Colts in 2003, Clark quickly became one of QB Peyton Manning's favorite targets has been one of the NFL's top pass-catching tight ends for the Colts making 393 receptions for 4,535 yards with 44 touchdowns during this period. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2009, when he became only the second tight end in NFL history to record 100 receptions in a season.
Both Joseph and Meriweather have helped the Bengals and Patriots respectively with solid secondary play. In five seasons, Joseph has picked off 14 passes and has four interception/fumble returns for touchdowns. Since assuming the starting strong safety position following the retirement of Rodney Harrison in New England, Meriweather has been selected to two consecutive Pro Bowls.
The newcomer to the "24" group, Bryant served as Dallas' third wideout in his rookie season and finished with 45 receptions for 561 yards with six touchdowns, finishing among league rookie leaders in all receiving categories, while also providing a spark on punt returns with two runbacks for touchdowns