Great Players The Saints Could Have Drafted: Tunch Ilkin
The 2016 NFL Draft gets underway on Thursday, April 28, in Chicago, Illinois.
Between now and then, we’ll be looking back at some of the past drafts by the Saints, and some of the better players they passed up on when it was their turn to pick.
Of course, every NFL team has had their “steals” and “busts” over the years, as the NFL Draft is such an inexact science, but it’s kind of fun, and at times, agonizing, to look back and see what players they could have, and maybe even should have drafted.
Today, we go back to the 1979 NFL Draft.
In the sixth round, with the 150th-overall pick, the Saints selected Kentucky linebacker Lester Boyd.
Granted, Boyd was a 6th round pick, and a lot of those never pan out, but he exited the league without ever playing a single game.
15 picks later, with the last pick of the 6th round, the Pittsburgh Steelers took Indiana St. tackle Tunch Ilkin.
It was a terrific pick by the Steelers, as Ilkin turned out to be one of the more underrated offensive linemen of the 1980's.
A 2-time Pro Bowler, Ilkin was a force at right tackle for the Steelers for the entire decade of the 80's, and into the early 1990's, before spending the last season of his career with the Green Bay Packers in 1993.
In 14 seasons, Ilkin appeared in 177 games, including 143 as a starter.
Ilkin, who was a fixture at right tackle for the Steelers throughout the 19080's would have fit in very nicely on the Saints' offensive line.