The Top 10 All-Time Players in New Orleans Saints History

The New Orleans Saints have a storied history filled with iconic moments, passionate fans, and a roster of exceptional football players who have graced the field. From thrilling victories to record-breaking performances, these legends have left an indelible mark on the franchise and the city. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the ten greatest football players in the history of the New Orleans Saints, examining their statistics, notable achievements, impact on the team, and the admiration they garnered from peers and fans alike.

Player 1: Drew Brees – Quarterback (2006-2020)

Drew Brees, one of the most celebrated quarterbacks of his era, is synonymous with the New Orleans Saints’ success. Acquired by the team in 2006 from the San Diego Chargers, Brees made an immediate impact and turned the franchise into perennial contenders. Over his remarkable 15-year tenure with the Saints, Brees amassed incredible statistics, including 67,532 passing yards, 487 touchdowns, and a completion rate of 67.7%.

Notable Achievements:

  • Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP
  • 13-time Pro Bowl selection
  • NFL records for most career passing yards and completions

Brees’ pinpoint accuracy, exceptional football IQ, and leadership skills made him a force to be reckoned with on the field. His ability to rally the team in critical moments endeared him to fans, earning him the nickname “Breesus” in the Crescent City. His longevity with the Saints solidified his place as one of the franchise’s greatest players, and he will forever be remembered as the quarterback who brought a Lombardi Trophy to New Orleans.

Player 2: Rickey Jackson – Linebacker (1981-1993)

Rickey Jackson, a cornerstone of the Saints’ famed “Dome Patrol” defense, was a fearsome force on the gridiron. The Saints drafted Jackson in 1981, and he quickly became the backbone of their defense. His impressive career statistics include 1,173 tackles, 128 sacks, and 42 forced fumbles.

Notable Achievements:

  • Super Bowl XXIX Champion (San Francisco 49ers)
  • 6-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Known for his explosive speed and relentless pursuit of the quarterback, Jackson struck fear into the hearts of opposing offenses. His tenacity and intensity were matched only by his leadership abilities, earning him the respect of teammates and fans alike. Jackson’s impact on the Saints’ defense was immeasurable, and his induction into the Hall of Fame solidified his status as one of the greatest players in franchise history.

Player 3: Morten Andersen – Kicker (1982-1994, 2006-2007)

Morten Andersen, widely regarded as one of the greatest kickers in NFL history, spent the majority of his illustrious career with the New Orleans Saints. Acquired by the team in 1982, Andersen’s accuracy and powerful leg made him an invaluable asset. He holds the distinction of being the all-time leading scorer in NFL history.

Notable Achievements:

  • 7-time Pro Bowl selection
  • NFL records for most career points scored and field goals made

Andersen’s consistency and ability to come through in clutch situations endeared him to the Saints faithful. Known for his unflappable demeanor, he routinely made pressure-packed kicks look effortless. Andersen’s longevity and remarkable statistics make him a legendary figure in Saints history.

Player 4: Willie Roaf – Offensive Tackle (1993-2001)

Willie Roaf, an imposing figure on the offensive line, solidified his place as one of the greatest offensive tackles to ever play for the New Orleans Saints. The team acquired Roaf through a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, and he immediately made an impact. With his exceptional athleticism and technique, Roaf provided crucial protection for the Saints’ quarterbacks and opened lanes for the running game.

Notable Achievements:

  • 11-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Roaf’s dominance on the field was matched only by his work ethic and dedication. Peers and fans marveled at his ability to neutralize elite pass rushers and consistently win matchups. Roaf’s impact on the Saints’ offense was immeasurable, and his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame cements his legacy as one of the greatest players in team history.

Player 5: Archie Manning – Quarterback (1971-1982)

Archie Manning, a fan favorite and revered figure in Saints history, endured the challenges of playing on a struggling team while displaying exceptional talent and resilience. Drafted by the Saints in 1971, Manning faced numerous obstacles but always gave his all on the field. Despite playing on teams with limited success, Manning’s individual statistics remained impressive, including 21,734 passing yards and 115 touchdowns.

Notable Achievements:

  • 2-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award

Manning’s ability to make something out of nothing and his toughness in the face of adversity endeared him to Saints fans. His skill set and leadership were highly regarded by his peers, who recognized his talent despite the team’s struggles. Manning’s impact extended beyond his on-field performances, as he became a beloved figure in the New Orleans community.

Player 6: Sam Mills – Linebacker (1986-1994)

Sam Mills, an undersized linebacker with an oversized heart, left an indelible mark on the New Orleans Saints and the NFL. Signed by the Saints in 1986 after being overlooked in the draft, Mills quickly became the heart and soul of the team’s defense. His tenacity, football IQ, and leadership skills were unparalleled.

Notable Achievements:

  • 4-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Inducted into the Saints’ Ring of Honor
  • Member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team

Mills’ impact extended beyond his statistics. Standing at just 5’9″, he defied expectations and earned the respect of teammates, opponents, and fans through his relentless pursuit of the ball carrier and ability to make game-changing plays. Mills’ spirit and determination embodied the resilient nature of the city of New Orleans, and his legacy as one of the Saints’ greatest players lives on.

Player 7: Marques Colston – Wide Receiver (2006-2015)

Marques Colston, a late-round gem, emerged as a key component of the Saints’ high-powered offense during his tenure with the team. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Colston wasted no time making an impact. His size, sure hands, and precise route-running made him a reliable target for Drew Brees.

Notable Achievements:

  • Super Bowl XLIV Champion
  • Holds numerous Saints franchise receiving records
  • All-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns by a Saints wide receiver

Colston’s consistency and clutch performances endeared him to fans, who affectionately referred to him as “The Quiet Storm.” Despite not receiving the recognition he deserved on a national level, his peers recognized his abilities and respected his contributions. Colston’s impact on the Saints’ offense, especially during their Super Bowl-winning season, cemented his status as one of the franchise’s all-time greats.

Player 8: Rickey Jackson – Linebacker (1981-1993)

Sammy Knight, an undrafted safety, defied the odds and established himself as a defensive standout during his time with the New Orleans Saints. Knight’s journey to the NFL was unconventional, but his talent and work ethic propelled him to success. As a key contributor to the Saints’ defense, Knight showcased his ball-hawking skills and physicality.

Notable Achievements:

  • 2-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Saints all-time leader in interceptions
  • Recipient of the NFL Alumni Defensive Back of the Year Award

Knight’s ability to read quarterbacks and make game-changing plays in the secondary earned him praise from both fans and teammates. His hard-hitting style and playmaking ability consistently made an impact on the outcome of games. Knight’s remarkable journey and accomplishments make him a deserving member of the Saints’ pantheon of great players.

Player 9: Max Unger – Center (2015-2018)

Max Unger, acquired in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, brought stability and leadership to the Saints’ offensive line during his tenure with the team. Known for his intelligence, technique, and ability to anchor the line, Unger played a pivotal role in the success of the Saints’ high-powered offense.

Notable Achievements:

  • Super Bowl XLVIII Champion (Seattle Seahawks)
  • 3-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team

Unger’s impact was not always reflected in statistics, but his presence was felt on every snap. Peers and fans recognized his contributions in creating running lanes and providing protection for the quarterback. Unger’s leadership and consistency on the field were invaluable, and his contributions to the Saints’ offensive success cannot be overstated.

Player 10: Cam Jordan – Defensive End (2011-present)

Cam Jordan, a dominant force on the defensive line, continues to etch his name among the all-time greats in Saints history. Drafted by the team in 2011, Jordan quickly established himself as a premier pass rusher and a disruptive presence on the field. His combination of size, strength, and athleticism makes him a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen.

Notable Achievements:

  • 6-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
  • Saints’ all-time leader in sacks

Jordan’s relentless pursuit of the quarterback and ability to disrupt plays in the backfield have made him a fan favorite. His impact goes beyond statistics, as he consistently draws double teams, creating opportunities for his teammates. Jordan’s dedication to his craft and his infectious enthusiasm have endeared him to fans, who view him as a cornerstone of the franchise.


The New Orleans Saints have been blessed with a multitude of talented football players throughout their history, but these ten individuals stand out as the greatest to have donned the black and gold. From the legendary leadership of Drew Brees to the fearsome presence of Rickey Jackson, each player made an indelible impact on the franchise and left a lasting legacy. Their remarkable statistics, notable achievements, and the admiration they garnered from peers and fans alike showcase their greatness. The memories created by these football legends will forever be etched in the hearts of Saints fans, serving as a testament to their enduring impact on the New Orleans Saints’ history and the city they represented with passion and pride.