It took two sculptors, 14 years, hundreds of men and thousands of tons of dynamite deep in the heart of the Black Hills region of South Dakota to build Mount Rushmore, which celebrates the great contributions presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
The Advocate is taking the same skill, precision, passion and thought to forever immortalize past and present members of the New Orleans Saints. In this 10-week "The New Orleans Saints Mount Rushmore Plus One Series" (it's "plus one" because we have some extra explosives left over from last year's Mardi Gras) The Advocate lists the top Saints at the positions of quarterback, running back, tight end, receiver, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, defensive back, coach and general manager.
Here is a look at the offensive linemen....
1. Wayne Martin (1989-99)
The Saints’ top pick in the 1989 draft and 19th player selected, Martin was a solid defensive end for 11 seasons. The former Arkansas star had 82.5 career sacks in starting 155 of 171 games. He is still second on the club’s all-time sack list behind Rickey Jackson, who had 115. A 2003 Saints Hall of Fame inductee, Martin led the team in sacks four times and had a career-high 15.5 in 1992. He twice tied the franchise record for sacks in a game with four.
2. Will Smith (2004-13)
Like Martin, Smith, a defensive end, was a first-round draft pick in 2004. Smith missed the 2013 season with a torn ACL after he was moved to outside linebacker, but he had 67.5 sacks in nine seasons to rank fourth on the team’s all-time list. While he was a solid run defender, he led the team in sacks four times. A Pro Bowler in 2006 and former defensive captain, Smith had a career-high 13 sacks in 2009 when he helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV.
3. La’Roi Glover (1997-2001)
While he played only five seasons with the Saints after being waived by the Raiders in 1997, Glover became a standout player immediately with 6.5 sacks that season. He had 10 the next season and piled up 50 of his 83.5 career sacks in a Saints’ uniform. A cat-quick interior lineman, he led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2000 and tied the club’s single-season record while earning first-team All-Pro honors. He was a Pro Bowl pick in 2000 and ’01 and was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
4. Joe Johnson (1994-98, 2000-01)
A first-round draft pick, Johnson was a relentless pass-rushing defensive end who had 50.5 sacks in seven seasons. The two-time Pro Bowl pick was the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2000 after missing the 1999 season with an injury. He started 104 games and had a career-high 12 sacks in his comeback season of 2000 when he teamed with Glover and Martin to help the Saints claim their first playoff win. He was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2007.
5. Jim Wilks (1981-93)
A member of the Saints’ famed 1981 draft class that produced 10 starters, Wilks was chosen in the 12th round. A dependable player who appeared in 183 games and started 154, he played end in a 4-3 scheme and inside at nose tackle in a 3-4 in a distinguished 13-year career. A quiet player on the field, he had 45.5 sacks to rank ninth in club history. He collected a career-high eight sacks in 1983 and was voted to the Saints’ Hall of Fame in 2001.