Who is the best player the New Orleans Saints ever drafted from the Ole Miss Rebels?

From May 1 until the start of the 2016 NFL season on September 11, we’re going to list the best players that the Saints ever drafted from all 128 FBS schools, as of 2015.

Of course, there are a number of schools, including Air Force, Appalachian St., Arizona, Army, Baylor, Boise St., Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Florida, Central Michigan, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Hawaii, ULM, Miami (Ohio), Marshall, Middle Tennessee, and South Alabama, in which the Saints have never drafted a player.

Yesterday, we looked at the best player the Saints ever drafted from Minnesota.

Today, we spotlight the best player the Saints ever drafted from Ole Miss.

When it comes to selecting the best player the Saints ever drafted from Ole Miss, the choice is limited to quarterback Archie Manning (1971), running back Deuce McAllister (2001), offensive lineman Tutan Reyes (2000), defensive lineman Dan Sartin (1968), and offensive lineman Richard Winther (1971).

All due respect to McAllister, who is arguably the best running back in franchise history, the pick is going to be Manning, the face of the franchise throughout the 1970's, who played 11 years for the Saints, from 1971-1982.

After finishing his collegiate career at Ole Miss, where he was named the SEC Player of the Year in 1969, and later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Manning was selected by the Saints with the 2nd-overall pick of the 1971 NFL Draft.

In 1972, Manning led the NFC in passing yards (2,781), while tossing 18 touchdown passes.

After missing the entire 1976 season due to injury, Manning recovered and had three-consecutive seasons from 1978-1980 where he threw for over 3,000 yards.

A native of Drew, Mississippi, Manning was named to the Pro Bowl in 1978 and 1979, and was also named the NFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1978, after throwing for 3,416 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Manning was traded to the Houston Oilers midway through the 1982 season, before finishing his 13-career with the Minnesota Vikings following the 1983 season.

Manning completed his career completing 2,011-of-3,642 passes for 23,911 yards and 125 touchdowns, while rushing for another 2,197 yards and 18 touchdowns.

In 11 seasons with the Saints, Manning threw for 2,734 and 115 touchdowns.

No, Manning never guided the Saints to a winning season, but he was one of the few bright spots in many dismal season in the 1970’s.

Named the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1977, Manning’s character, as well as his play, make him a Saints legend.

Manning’s #8 is unofficially retired by the organization.

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