Saints’ entire 2017 draft class is starting, but most not for the Saints

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The Saints had an outstanding draft class in 2017, with all seven players they drafted starting in the NFL five years later. But most of those players are no longer in New Orleans.

As noted by Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune, the Saints’ entire 2017 draft class started in Week One.

Three of those players are starting for the Saints: cornerback Marshon Lattimore, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and running back Alvin Kamara. All three have been key players for the Saints for years.

But the Saints’ other four 2017 picks are starting elsewhere.

Former Saints defensive back Marcus Williams signed a lucrative contract with the Ravens this offseason, and former Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson signed a lucrative contract with the Bengals last offseason. Both of them are good players that the Saints — who rarely have much salary cap space at the start of free agency — couldn’t afford to keep.

Another 2017 Saints draft pick, linebacker Alex Anzalone, is now a starter in Detroit. Anzalone didn’t sign as lucrative a contract as Williams or Hendrickson, so his departure wasn’t as much about the salary cap, but he’s another good player who played out his rookie contract with the Saints and then left.

The Saints’ final 2017 pick, defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, is now a starter in Chicago. Muhammad only lasted one year in New Orleans, and the Saints released him before his second season, perhaps not expecting him to develop into the starter he has become.

Overall, few recent draft classes in the NFL can rival what the Saints did during the 2017 draft — even if the Saints may wish that most of those players were still in New Orleans.

7 responses to “Saints’ entire 2017 draft class is starting, but most not for the Saints

  1. I appreciate the thought of this post, but Anzalone and Muhammad are only starting because they’re on bad teams. They would be more of rotational pieces on contending teams. But this still goes to show you that if you live life up against the wall of cap space, you’re going to lose out of some of your own players that you probably should keep but can’t with the lack of space.

  2. Drafting was never the Saints problem.
    Finding theatrically impressive ways to lose playoff games is/was.

  3. It was one of those all time drafts. Just think had they gotten Mahomes the next year before KC jumped them.

  4. A big reason why the Saints made the playoffs for four straight years and would have been five were it not for a 49ers comeback/Rams meltdown in week 18 last season

  5. realfootballfan says:
    September 13, 2022 at 1:39 pm
    It was one of those all time drafts. Just think had they gotten Mahomes the next year before KC jumped them.
    =====================================
    KC jumped them for Mahomes, and the Saints took Lattimore with the next pick, so they couldn’t have had both.

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