Black and Gold 2009 Draft Class Bio: Thomas Morstead

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IJune 1, 2009

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 24:  Thomas Morstead #15 of the South Team looks to the sideline for a play against the North Team during the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 24, 2009 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. The South defeated the North 35-18.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Under Armour)

This article is the first in a four-article series which will profile each of the picks in the New Orleans Saints 2009 draft class. Look for the others soon.

The New Orleans Saints pretty much surprised their fans when they traded their 2009 seventh-round pick and 2010 fifth-round pick to move up and select punter Thomas Morstead from Southern Methodist University.

In fact, most Saints fans gave the decision a thumbs down since the Saints already have punter Glenn Pakulak on the roster.

But head coach Sean Payton defended his decision and his player: "We think his career numbers, his workouts after the season had ended, and his most recent workouts were outstanding," Payton said of the strong-legged, 6'4", 225-pounder, who was rated by most scouts as the first or second-best prospect available at the position.

So the Saints made Morstead the second punter picked in the draft after the Cincinnati Bengals picked punter Kevin Huber out of the University of Cincinnati.

Morstead grew up in Pearland, Texas and chose SMU over TCU, Rice, Texas, and Missouri. While at SMU, he majored in mechanical engineering.

Morstead was regarded as one of, if not the best punter in the draft with scouts saying things like, "Great athlete, outstanding leg strength, can kick field goals, etc.", but that really doesn't make Saints fans feel much better about the pick.

In his three-year SMU career, he made 166 punts for 7,201 yards with 59 being falling inside of the 20-yard line. His average was 43.4 yards and his longest punt went for 72 yards. None of his attempts were blocked.

Saints fans can only wait and see if Morstead is indeed the real deal or if he is only one more draft day bust in the Saints' long history of making such picks.