Saints quarterback Drew Brees
Two members of the 2014 Saints -- quarterback Drew Brees and cornerback Champ Bailey -- were among the NFL's 20 best players during the 2000s, according to NFL.com.
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints cornerback Champ Bailey (27) practices at the Saints Training Facility during an OTA in Metairie, La. Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Brees made the list mostly because he led the Saints to their first NFC Championship Game in 2006 and then their lone Super Bowl in 2009, fewer than five years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans. He also recorded only the second 5,000-yard passing season in NFL history in 2008 (he's since put up three more such years and is the only league player to have more than one).
Bailey landed on the list by making the Pro Bowl nine times between 2000 and 2009 earning first-team All-Pro honors each season from 2004 to 2006. His 18 interceptions combined in 2005 and 2006 were the most in a two-season span since Everson Walls had that many for the Dallas Cowboys in 1981 and 1982.
Elsewhere, NFL Network placed Saints tight end Jimmy Graham among the Top 10 of the 100 best players in the league heading into 2014. Players voted on the list.
Graham led the Saints with 1,215 receiving yards and the NFL with 16 touchdown catches during the 2013 regular season.