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25 years ago today Mike Ditka traded our entire draft for Ricky Williams

Posted on 4/17/24 at 8:19 pm
Posted by LivingstonLaw
Livingston County
Member since Jul 2021
2531 posts
Posted on 4/17/24 at 8:19 pm
Do you remember where you were?

This post was edited on 4/17/24 at 9:40 pm
Posted by grich31
Youngsville, La
Member since May 2008
1194 posts
Posted on 4/17/24 at 8:22 pm to
Just a dumb move, he set org back 3 yrs with that draft, he probably was one of the worse HC Saints have had, sorry Saints did not get the Bears Ditka, just and old lazy version
Posted by burke985
Member since Aug 2011
24670 posts
Posted on 4/17/24 at 8:33 pm to
Williams was a beast though
Posted by BadaBingBadaBoom
Lafourche Parish
Member since Mar 2022
2023 posts
Posted on 4/17/24 at 8:35 pm to
To me at the time it was worth it because we needed that shot in the arm with Ditka and Williams. It’s just sad neither worked out.

Crossing the Jackson St bridge in Thibodaux listening to sports talk radio when the news broke
This post was edited on 4/17/24 at 8:40 pm
Posted by BigTigerJoe
Member since Aug 2022
5770 posts
Posted on 4/17/24 at 9:36 pm to

Rickey Williams

Looks high.
Posted by stopitnow1
Member since Mar 2013
1280 posts
Posted on 4/17/24 at 9:53 pm to
I was 12 living in New Orleans. I was probably doing some shite 12 year olds shouldn't be doing lol.
Posted by geauxpurple
New Orleans
Member since Jul 2014
12489 posts
Posted on 4/17/24 at 10:05 pm to
I have to admit, I remember being pretty fired up about it at the time.
Posted by Athis
Member since Aug 2016
11705 posts
Posted on 4/17/24 at 10:26 pm to
Yes, I had just pulled up to work. I was listening to the draft on the radio.. It was a WTF moment...
Posted by Mariner
Mandeville, LA
Member since Jul 2009
1949 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 5:37 am to
I was for it a the time. Going to the games a few years before the pick was so boring and frustrating, Then you would have these teams visit with high profile athletes and I was jealous that the Saints had none of that. It was a franchise player with the potential to be the best RB in the NFL. I dreamed for years of getting a big name in the draft.

Now I look back and laugh.
Posted by goatmilker
Castle Anthrax
Member since Feb 2009
64484 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 7:10 am to
Posted by Hangover Haven
Member since Oct 2013
26709 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 7:42 am to

Williams was a beast though

He was also a head case.
Posted by SlowFlowPro
Simple Solutions to Complex Probs
Member since Jan 2004
423384 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 8:01 am to

I have to admit, I remember being pretty fired up about it at the time.

I melted

I melted harder the next year when our top-3 pick went to WAS

However, those melts paled in comparison to trading 2, 1sts to move up to draft Trufa......Jonathan Sullivan.
Posted by saintsfan22
baton rouge
Member since May 2006
71794 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 8:38 am to
He would've wasted all the picks that year anyway. The next year's pick was the only loss.
Posted by CRW
Member since Aug 2016
1104 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 8:53 am to
Mike Ditka was a buffoon .He took a Chicago team that should have won
multiple SBs and got 1.His talent evaluation was non-existent.He stole
money from N.O. He said if he didnt win in 3 years he would quit without
pay.Well he didnt and theatened to sue Tom Benson if they didnt pay him.
The guy was a DICK.
Posted by DestrehanTiger
Houston, TX by way of Louisiana
Member since Nov 2005
12495 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 9:27 am to
I will never forget riding in the car with my dad listening to 870 during the draft. I can still hear Jim Henderson yelling "That seals the deal! That seals the deal!".

ETA: My dad just informed me that it might not have been Jim Henderson. Might have been either Buddy D or Mike Detillier.
This post was edited on 4/18/24 at 9:41 am
Posted by Alt26
Member since Mar 2010
28470 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 10:31 am to

he set org back 3 yrs with that draft,

Not really.

When Ditka was hired in 1996, the Saints had fallen back to their historical place of being a bad franchise. The good Mora run of the late 80's early 90's was over. Williams was picked in the 1999 draft...which was Ditka's 3rd draft. The Saints had gone 6-10 in Ditka's first two seasons. Not good. But not that far off what the team had been in Mora's final few years (7-9, 7-9, 3-13).

I'm sure Ditka felt going into the 1999 season that the Saints had to make a big improvement. At the time RB was still very much viewed as a marquee position. The Saints had the 12th pick in the draft. There was NO expectation a player like Williams would be available at 12. For his part, Williams was coming off a season where the set the NCAA career rushing record and won the Heisman Trophy. I doubt he was even on the Saints' draft radar...until the Colts unexpectedly took Edgerrin James as the first RB off the board at 4. The Saints pounced.

Did they grossly overpay? In hindsight, yes. But it's hard to say it "set the franchise back" 3 years. The 1999 season sucked and Ditka was fired. But the next year Haslett won the NFC West and the Saints first ever playoff game. They then went 7-9, 9-7, 8-8, 8-8 before Katrina hit. Not "good" by any means. But better than they had been between 1994-1999
Posted by PeteyC
Member since Feb 2024
2 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 11:22 am to
We ended up getting 2 first round picks trading him to Miami a few years later making it a wash on the lost picks. The real crime was trading one of those 1st round picks to move up and get Jonathan Sullivan.
Posted by rpg37
Ocean Springs, MS
Member since Sep 2008
48044 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 12:44 pm to
Posted by 308
the backwoods of Mississippi
Member since Sep 2020
1984 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 1:35 pm to
iirc, Buddy D. really pushed for the Saints to hire Ditka. After a couple of seasons, he then changed his mind on Ditka.
Posted by Scientific73
Metro Atlanta
Member since Jan 2014
728 posts
Posted on 4/18/24 at 2:12 pm to
People forget the 2000 season where Rickey broke his leg and finished his season with 10 games and exactly 1000 yards.
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