Best New Orleans Saints Draft Choices From FBS Schools: Illinois
Who is the best player the New Orleans Saints ever drafted from the Illinois Fighting Illini?
From May 1 until the start of the 2016 NFL season on September 11, we’re going to list the best players that the Saints ever drafted from all 128 FBS schools, as of 2015.
Of course, there are a number of schools, including Air Force, Appalachian St., Arizona, Army, Baylor, Boise St., Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Florida, Central Michigan, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Hawaii, and South Alabama, in which the Saints have never drafted a player.
Yesterday, we looked at the best player the Saints ever drafted from Houston.
Today, we spotlight the best player the Saints ever drafted from Illinois.
When it comes to selecting the best player the Saints ever drafted from Illinois, the choice is limited to linebacker Nate Bussey (2011), defensive back Keith Taylor (1988), defensive lineman Don Thorp (1984), quarterback Dave Wilson (1981), and linebacker Martez Wilson (2011).
Pierre Thomas is the best player from Illinois to ever play for the Saints, but he wasn't drafted, so, in that case, the pick is going to be Wilson, a quarterback, who played 8 years for the Saints, from 1981-1988.
After finishing his college career at Illinois, where passed for 621 yards in a game against Ohio St., a mark that stood for eight years, Wilson was selected by the Saints with the first-overall pick in the 1981 expansion draft.
After throwing for only 12 touchdowns and 22 interception over his first three years, excluding the 1982 season, which he missed due to injury, Wilson became the primary starter for the team in the 198 and 1986 seasons, passing for 4,193 yards, along with 21 touchdowns and 32 interceptions over that timespan.
A native of Anaheim, California, Wilson played two more seasons for the team, primarily as a back-up, before retiring following the 1988 season.
The 6-foot-3, 206-pound Wilson finished his career accumulating 6,987 career passing yards, along with 36 touchdown passes, over seven NFL seasons.