Every April I go back to the draft of 2 years prior. The way I see it, it’s impossible to get a sense of where the picks are headed or even how they turned out until they’ve seen the field. While 2 years later may be premature in giving the draft class it’s full evaluation, it’s certainly a way more informed grade than the one given right after the selections are made. Here were my evaluations of the 2008 draft class last April, and the 2007 draft class the year before.
Here were the picks of the 2009 class:
1. Malcolm Jenkins (pictured): What a great pick that turned out to be. Jenkins is now the starter at free safety and is quickly coming into his own as an incredibly solid starter in the league. He’s still learning how to become the ballhawk that Darren Sharper was, but his play recognition skills and playmaking ability are only getting better. If how the playoff game panned out in his absence is any indication, the Saints are completely reliant on his contributions to the team.
4a. Chip Vaughn: Vaughn is already no longer on the roster, and he saw a little special teams action with the Colts this past season. I can’t imagine he’ll be in the league for much longer. Injuries have done him in in his otherwise very young career. I think it’s safe to say this was a terrible pick.
4b. Stanley Arnoux: After spending all of 2009 on injured reserve, 2010 didn’t fare all that much better. He made the team and played in 9 games, mostly special teams. He had just 5 tackles on the year, though he did force 2 fumbles. He finished the year on injured reserve yet again. This big question mark with this guy is whether or not he can stay healthy. At least he’s still on the roster, though, and the Saints staff still seems to be very high on him. His window of opportunity is closing, though, and he’s yet to prove he can make any sort of impact.
5. Thomas Morstead: This selection was a much better pick that I think any of us could have ever realized it being at the time. Morstead is already a premiere punter in the league because of his massive leg strength and incredibly good hang time. Morstead has the punter position on lockdown and he’s also done a terrific job the last two seasons kickoff off for the team, landing numerous touchbacks. Morstead had the 6th best average in the entire league last year per punt.
All in all this is a tough class to evaluate because the Saints only had 4 selections. Still, I think it’s easy to say the Saints hit homeruns with half of those selections and struck out with the other two. The jury is still out on Arnoux, but I have a hard time imagining he’ll have a much better fate than his college teammate Chip Vaughn (both players came from Wake Forest). Because it’s only 4 picks and the Saints did well on half of them, I think this draft class gets a C or a C-. Still, I’m very happy to have both Morstead and Jenkins on the roster.