The Aftermath of “The Quiet Storm” Remembering and Moving Forward from Marques Colston
By Stefan Muro
Ten years ago, The New Orleans Saints selected big name players such as Reggie Bush, Roman Harper, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief and Rob Ninkovich in the 2006 NFL draft. The newly-acquired head coach, Sean Payton, was building around his new free agent quarterback in Drew Brees. Some of these players played a role in the magical 2009 season while others found success in a different system. Looking back on the past 10 years, it is easy to say our best draft pick was in the last round.
In the seventh round and number 252 of 255 overall picks, The Saints selected Marques Colston. The 6-foot-4 and 225-pound wide receiver hailed from Hofstra University, which no longer has a football program. With a 4.50 second 40-yard dash and a 37-inch vertical jump, many prospects believed he would become a tight end due to his size and catching ability. Sean Payton had other plans for him after trading former wide receiver, Donte Stallworth, to the Philadelphia Eagles. This was the beginning of “The Quiet Storm.”
In his rookie season, Colston immediately became Brees’ favorite and primary target. He recorded 70 receptions for 1,038 yards and 8 touchdowns, which outperformed Cowboys’ legend, Bob Hayes’ 46 receptions for a 1,003-yard and 12-touchdown rookie season. Colston’s first season is one of the greatest the NFL has seen since Randy Moss, Anquan Boldin and before Odell Beckham Jr. Although the season ended in a heartbreaking 39-14 rout in the NFC Championship Game against the Chicago Bears, Colston was ranked second in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting behind former Tennessee Titan QB, Vince Young. He was well ahead of his more celebrated teammate Reggie Bush, who was selected second overall in the ’06 draft. “The Quiet Storm” gained strength with great on and off the field work ethic and returned the next season as the new starting wide receiver.
Over the next 9 seasons, Colston proved to have far surpassed the value of a seventh-round pick. Rather than running a big mouth like fans are used to seeing in players nowadays, his big plays did the talking. “The Quiet Storm” racked up 9,759 yards and 72 touchdowns on 711 receptions, which are all career highs in Saints’ history. He has an impressive six 1,000+ yard seasons and a Super Bowl ring to add to his exceptional resume. He also holds records for most 100+ receiving yard games (28) and most games played by a wide receiver (146.) Despite of his great value and efforts, he was never selected to the Pro Bowl. Now that the storm has passed, how will Who Dat Nation remember him?
Sean Payton told the media last week, “Upon his arrival as a seventh-round draft pick 10 years ago, Marques’ immediate contributions were significant in getting this team turned around so quickly to the point where you win a Super Bowl in Year 4. His production, consistency, toughness and work ethic were second to none. You always knew what you were going to get from Marques, and that was everything that he had. All of the characteristics that Marques possess are what we look for in a New Orleans Saint. I thank Marques for all that he did for our team and wish him the best of luck.”
Saints owner, Tom Benson said, “There have been very few players in our franchise’s history that have represented this team with the class, dignity and performance of Marques Colston. In the locker room, on the field and in the community, Marques has always been a true professional, a role model and a winner who played a significant role in our team becoming a perennial contender that won a Super Bowl. On behalf of our team, I wish Marques and his family nothing but the best, and they will always be an important part of our organization.”
Although the franchise’s top receiver is officially out of the building, the Saints offense still looks forward to being one of the best in the NFL. Although most of the Saints resources will be acclimated to rebuilding a once horrific defense, Sean Payton told NFL Network after the combine in Indianapolis, “I think this draft class has potential to be a great receiver draft.” Implying the Saints won’t have to reach far to find a new receiver. It seems they believe their in-house wide receivers are ready for a bigger role. Undrafted names such as Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman were solid contributors to the league’s top passing offense.
It is safe to say the Saints will be forever grateful for Colston’s contributions and are solidifying them as a standard for future wide receivers that wear black and gold. This upcoming season will test what the young guys have learned from the best to do it in black and gold, “The Quiet Storm.”