New Orleans Saints First Round Draft Choices: Will Smith (2004)
The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft will be held on Thursday, April 28, in Chicago, Illinois.
Between now and then, we’ll be looking back at all of the drafts of the New Orleans Saints, from 1967-2015.
Yesterday, we looked back at 2003.
The 2004 draft was the 38th draft in the history of the Saints.
The selection turned out to be a good one for the Saints, landing a player who was a starter on their 2009 Super Bowl winning team.
The pick: Will Smith, a defensive end from Ohio St.
A native of Queens, New York, Smith, who was the 18th-overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft, played ten years for the Saints, from 2004-2013.
The 6-foot-3, 282-pound Smith played in 16 games as a rookie, starting 4, while making 30 tackles, including an impressive 7.5 sacks.
The 2005 season saw Smith get even more playing time, as he played in all 16 games once again, starting 9, while making 48 tackles, including 8.5 sacks.
In 2006, Smith continued his fine play, being named to the Pro Bowl for the first and only time is his successful career, after generating 10.5 sacks in 14 games, all as a starter.
Smith remained the starter at right defensive end over the next six seasons, averaging 40 tackles and 6 sacks, including the 2009 season, in which he got to the quarterback 13 times, a career-high, while helping the team win the Super Bowl.
In 2013, in the third preseason game of the year, Smith suffered a knee injury, which ultimately ended his fine career.
In 9 seasons in the NFL, all with the Saints, Smith played in 139 games, including 120 as a starter, accumulating 324 total tackles, including 57.5 sacks.
The franchise certainly got what they bargained for when they drafted Smith in the first round of 2004.
The Saints made two other solid picks in 2004, selecting LSU receiver Devery Henderson in the second round, and Arizona St. fullback Mike Karney in the fifth round.