No. 10 Thomas Morstead
When the Saints moved up in the 2009 draft to select Thomas Morstead, a punter, those who care for the team, and, indeed, those who cover the team scoffed. Move up for a punter? Really? That’s how you want to spend a late and important draft pick?
Well, Head Coach Sean Payton and Morstead got the last laugh on this one. Throughout the Super Bowl season, Morstead kept the Saints in games with his booming directional punts. Only four of his 58 punts were touchbacks and 18 were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Versus Dallas – the Saints first loss of the season – Morstead’s punts at least kept New Orleans in the game, averaging 50.3 yards on four punts. And against Minnesota, in the tightest game the Saints would play all season, the rookie downed four of his seven punts inside the 20.
And that’s not to mention his kick-offs. Fifty-eight of his 99 kicks went into the end zone and 27 were touchbacks in the regular season. In the playoffs, 13 of his 19 kick-offs went into the end zone and six were touchbacks. His onside kick in the Super Bowl – the first live attempt he had all season on that type of kick – is possibly the most underrated part of that play in the win.
Payton was fond of mentioning the rough feedback he received right after the draft for moving up to select Morstead. The punter proved that it was a good move and he proved that he would be an indispensable member of the team for years to come.