METAIRIE, La. — Jahri Evans sat in his locker Friday, preparing his travel bag for the Saints’ game Sunday at New England and pondered a twist of fate that led to him being in this exact position eight years earlier.
One move by the Houston Texans sent ripples through the draft, causing a trade by New Orleans with Philadelphia that resulted, ultimately, in the Saints taking the right guard.
“Now I’m sitting here having a great career and a Super Bowl,” Evans said Friday. “I’m glad things turned out the way they did.
If not for Houston changing the Saints’ draft board during the 2006 NFL draft, Evans could be elsewhere.
New Orleans coveted tight end Owen Daniels, Saints coach Sean Payton said Friday, and was all set to take him when the Texans picked him a slot earlier.
“He is going to be the selection and I am on the phone with him and Houston calls and takes him with the only pick that was before us, so fortunately we were able to back down a trade with Philadelphia and we end up drafting Jahri Evans,” Payton said.
Evans’ streak of 114 consecutive start to begin his career is most-ever by a Saints player and the streak is the second-longest in franchise history.
That draft might be one of the best ever, producing six players who have played big roles in the NFL.
The Saints took Reggie Bush at No. 2 and he played with New Orleans for five seasons, racking up 2,090 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns while catching 294 passes for 2,142 yards and 12 more scores. Since his time in New Orleans, he has become integral parts of the offense in Miami and now Detroit.
Roman Harper was New Orleans’ second-round pick. He has played in 101 games in New Orleans, recording 17 sacks and seven interceptions as the starting strong safety.
Evans was the fourth-round pick and 27 picks later, New Orleans took Rob Ninkovich, who eventually caught on with New England where he has become a key player on the Patriots’ defense.
Right tackle Zach Strief and receiver Marques Colston were taken in the seventh round. Strief has started 28 games the past three seasons while Colston owns franchise records for most catches (555) and touchdowns (59) and is only 147 yards off the club’s mark for most receiving yards.
“It was an important class for us as we began to put together a program,” Payton said.