After landing a stunning value pick by staying put at 24, the Saints stunned everyone again by trading back up into the 1st round - and mortgaging their 1st round pick next year - to take another surprisingly available player.
DE Cameron Jordan at 24 was a shock - many predictions had him going in the top 10. Various reports indicated that the Patriots were trying to trade up into the Top 10 to get Jordan. Part of a record twelve defensive linemen in the first round, Jordan fell through the cracks over and over again until the Saints were thrilled to take him.
Then, four picks later, the Saints appeared on the board again - swapping out with the ever trade-happy Patriots at 28. Giving up their 2011 second round pick, the 56th overall, and their 2012 first round pick, the Saints pulled off the move that they narrowed missed out on in 2009. Two Aprils ago, the Saints tried to move back into the first round to take sliding Ohio State RB Beanie Wells. They couldn't pull the trade off and Wells went 31st overall to Arizona.
In 2011, Alabama RB Mark Ingram is the consensus #1 runningback in the draft and the only back drafted in the first round. Sliding past the Giants, Ingram was surely in the discussion at #24, but the overwhelming steal of a pick in Jordan won out. But the Saints would not be denied like they were in 2009.
Trading with the Patriots, who always manage to pick up extra selections for next year, the Saints moved from 56 to 28 and picked Ingram, who had a long night waiting around in Radio City Music Hall. Often focused on by cameras from ESPN and the NFL Network, Ingram was passed over multiple times. Shortly after he was drafted, ESPN reporter Suzy Kolber facilitated a message from Mark Ingram, Sr. Ingram, on the stage at Radio City Music Hall, hid his face as tears streamed.
The new draft pick's father, in prison for bank fraud and attempted escape, told his son via an email how proud he was of the young man he had become. Ingram was also brought to tears during his acceptance speech when he won the 2009 Heisman Trophy, thanking his father among others.