As I put this team together I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. My guidelines, they had to play for the Saints for at least 5 years, so no Wes Chandler or Sharper (thankfully). Early memories of Archie Manning or Derland Moore can alter one’s opinion, but I tried to be subjective. This is my list alone so here goes my greatest defensive Saints players.
We have to go a 3-4 alignment for reasons that should be obvious. I put La’Roi Glover at nose, I know that wasn’t his position (3 technique) but for my purposes this is where he had to go. He had 50 sacks for the Saints, his best year was 2000 when he had 17 sacks, 67 tackles and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year. Will Smith is one DE, he had 67.5 sacks as a Saints and this is a no- brainer. During the Super Bowl season he had 13 sacks, and in the playoffs intercepted Kurt Warner recently minted Hall of Famer. His tragic loss on April 9,2016 will never be forgotten, a great Saint. Wayne Martin is my other end, another slam dunk. The first rounder played 11 years for the Black and Gold and finished with 82.5 sacks, five year of ten or more and 12 forced fumbles.
No we go to the linebacker group, and how do you separate the greatest squad in NFL history? You don’t! All four Dome Patrol second level men make my list. Vaughan Johnson had 8 years with New Orleans, his best season 1993 where he caused four forced fumbles, 5 sacks and 110 tackles. An unsung guy who was as hard hitting as any in the league. Sam Mills the other middle backer, played 9 seasons in the Crescent City. In 1992 he had 3 sacks, 1 INT, 4 forced fumbles and 130 tackles! He had over 900 stops for the Saints he was our London Fletcher, too small and too slow. Unfortunately, he lost his battle with cancer at the young age of 45. Now we have OUR Lawrence Taylor, number 57 Rickey Jackson! He terrorized offenses for15 years, 13 with the Saints. He accumulated 115 sacks in New Orleans, in 1992 he had 6 forced fumbles, 13.5 sacks and 66 tackles. Other teams had to scheme to deal with 57. The entire Dome Patrols’ linebacker corps want to the Pro Bowl in 1992. The four of them went to a combined 18 Pro Bowls.
Now the secondary, although not a true corner, he did play some and you can’t leave Dave Waymer off the list. His 19 interceptions were at the time number one on the list when they didn’t throw a lot. Sammy Knight was one of my all time favorite players. Undrafted out of USC, hey played from 1997 to 2002. In six seasons the ball hawking safety had 28 interceptions. He wasn’t fast or big but he was really good at football! The other safety Tom Myers out of Syracuse, 10 years as a Saint. He caught 36 passes from the other team and had 15 fumble recoveries. He was the first to be named first team All Pro. Then the other corner Tracy Porter, who had two of the biggest plays in Saints history. In the NFC Championship he intercepted Brett Favre to end the Vikings drive and propel the Black and Gold to their only Super Bowl appearance. Then versus Peyton Manning and the Colts he had another interception, big time players make big time plays on the biggest stage. For good or ill that is my defensive group.