Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
Saints GM Mickey Loomis
Mickey Loomis continues to amaze me. While most teams are reliant upon high draft picks to succeed in the NFL (e.g. Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers), the Saints continue to get it done with late-round picks and undrafted free agents alike.
Now don't get me wrong—if you need mostly first-round draft picks to win, by all means proceed with that theory. The pressure to win means "win at all costs" in my book. But the efficiency with which the Saints operate is beyond admirable. It's a theory that more teams should attempt to adhere to.
Constructing a roster this way builds quality depth first and foremost. When most of the top players aren't as highly touted, there's not as much pressure to play said players. When most players are reporting to a team, they know that the chances of them unseating that highly touted draft pick are slim to none.
Not in New Orleans.
Marques Colston (seventh round), Lance Moore (undrafted), Joseph Morgan (undrafted), Pierre Thomas (undrafted), Jimmy Graham (third round) and Chris Ivory (undrafted) are players who are—or were—significant players for the Saints in recent memory.
As a matter of fact, it can be said that recent first-round draft picks Reggie Bush, Sedrick Ellis, Robert Meachem and Mark Ingram are some of the more disappointing picks from Loomis. But due to the success of the rest of the roster, these players aren't held on to as long as most franchises do.
With the play of Kenny Stills (fifth round), Glenn Foster (undrafted), Nick Toon (fourth round), Akiem Hicks (third round), Junior Galette (undrafted) and Martez Wilson (third round), the "Mickey Loomis way" is in full effect.
Now that's a recipe for success.