Another Bears slow start validates season prediction

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But while No. 13 has generally been a safe spot to pick up reliable contributors, the end of the first round is far more perilous.

The Saints hold both picks in next month's draft, although they could still trade one or both in combination with their other seven picks to move up to a better spot.

Earlier this month we looked at the last 25 years of No. 13 overall picks. The news was good for the Saints. The No. 13 pick has produced back to back rookie defensive players of the year. It also includes a future Hall of Famer (tight end Tony Gonzalez), regular Pro Bowl participants (like defensive end John Abraham) and longtime franchise staples (like offensive lineman Brad Hopkins).

There have been plenty of good players drafted at No. 31 since 1990, but the percentage of busts or non contributors is also far greater.

In 2013, the Dallas Cowboys picked up offensive lineman cheap ncaa jerseys Travis Frederick, who has quickly grown into a Pro Bowl center on the team's elite offensive line. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were thrilled with running back Doug Martin's rookie season in 2012, but injuries have limited his contributions in 2013 and 2014.

New Orleans Saints running back Dalton Hilliard runs up the middle against the Minnesota cheap wholesale jerseys Vikings during the Saints first ever playoff game on Sunday, January 3, 1988. Hilliard was a No. 31 Aaron Hernandez [url=]cheap jerseys Jersey[/url] overall pick by the Saints in 1986. (STAFF PHOTO BY ELIOT KAMENITZ)Eliot Kamenitz

Injuries and even tragedy has affected other No. 31 picks. Defensive tackle Leon Bender died after suffering a seizure in 1998. He had been drafted by the Oakland Raiders out of Washington State only five weeks earlier.

The New York Jets drafted back to back busts in 1996 and 1997. But there was also a string of Pro Bowlers drafted earlier in the 1990s, including linebackers Chris Slade and Roman Phifer and receiver Carl Pickens.

The Saints didn't have any No. 31 picks in the scope of our 25 year review, but they did have some solid picks at that spot earlier in franchise history.

Running back Dalton Hilliard, drafted in 1986, was a steady contributor for eight seasons. Linebacker Willie Hall (drafted in 1972) didn't do much with the Saints, but became a starter with the Oakland Raiders.

The Saints also have a No. 31 pick on their 2015 roster. Safety Kenny Phillips, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2012, will attempt a comeback with the Saints this summer.

This is a popular spot to stock up on defensive players. Five of the 25 picks in our survey were defensive linemen, four were linebackers and four were defensive backs.

On offense, three of four running backs drafted failed to meet expectations (and the fourth, Doug Martin, must regain his rookie form after injuries). However, two of three offensive linemen became Pro Bowlers and both tight ends were great picks. Todd Heap (drafted in 2001) was a two time Pro Bowler, while Greg Olsen (2007) hasn't missed a game in seven seasons.

The chart below includes weighted career approximate value, which is a metric used by Pro Football Reference to assign a single number to a player's career. It's a good way of comparing retired players, but keep in mind that the careers of players like Frederick and Bradley Roby are still young.


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