Previously, we have detailed what could have been for the New Orleans Saints early in the draft process from 1967-1975. Today, we take a look at 1976-78:
1976–The Saints got it right, choosing talented running back Chuck Muncie from California with the third overall pick in the draft. Muncie proved to be multi-talented, eventually earning a Pro Bowl berth in 1979.
Unfortunately, demons plagued Muncie, who was late for meetings, practices and missed a team flight. The Saints traded perhaps their most talented player in the middle of the disastrous 1980 season to San Diego.
New Orleans got it right in the second round as well, picking gifted fullback/running back Tony Galbreath 32nd overall. Galbreath, along with Chuck Foreman, was the best run/pass back in the league for the next few seasons.
The Saints chose guard Bob Simmons of Texas 77th overall in the third round. Simmons never played a down for the Saints.
If you wanted a good offensive lineman, the Los Angeles Rams drafted Jackie Slater of Jackson State nine picks later. Slater went on to play 20 years in the NFL with the Rams, was a three time All-Pro and seven time Pro Bowler. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1977–After a big hit with their first two picks in 1976, the Saints returned to their woeful ways in 1977 with a huge bust in defensive end Joe Campbell, the seventh overall pick in the draft.
Campbell played part of four seasons with the Saints, playing in 45 games. He never came close to being a good player and ended up in Oakland with the Raiders.
Six picks later, the Miami Dolphins invaded south Louisiana and chose LSU’s A.J. Duhe, who went on to play eight seasons with the Dolphins, was a first team All-Conference player in 1981 and a Pro Bowl player in 1984.
The Saints were not satisfied with one bad pick on the defensive line. They chose Nebraska defensive tackle Mike Fultz 34th overall in the second round. Fultz started just 14 games in four years and simply was too slow and not athletic enough to make any difference.
Six picks later, Miami chose nose tackle Bob Baumhower from Alabama. Baumhower went on to make five Pro Bowls and was a first team All-Pro in 1983.
1978–The Saints hit with their first pick, wide receiver Wes Chandler of Florida, who came to New Orleans with the third overall selection. Chandler was a big play receiver and made plays in the kicking game. He went to the Pro Bowl in 1979 but Bum Phillips arrived and decided that Chandler wasn’t fast enough and traded him to San Diego.
Phillips apparently thought Lindsay Scott was fast enough, drafting him in the first round in 1981 (more on that to come). Chandler played seven years in San Diego, earned first team All-Pro honors in 1982 and made three more Pro Bowls. Apparently, Chandler could still run a little bit.
In the second round, the Saints chose tackle J.T. Taylor of Missouri, who earned a starting spot over a four year stint in New Orleans. Defensive tackle Barry Bennett arrived in the third round and played four solid seasons with the Saints before playing another seven years for the Jets.
It is hard to find fault with the 1978 draft.