Best Saints By The Numbers: #56
All summer long, we’re going to list the best players in New Orleans Saints history to wear every number, 00-99.
Yesterday, we did #55.
The pick: Pat Swilling
When deciding who is the best New Orleans Saints player to ever wear #56, the choice is limited to offensive lineman Lee Gross and linebackers Jim Ferguson, Hap Farber, Willie Hall, Rusty Rebowe, Reggie Mathis, Dennis Winston, Pat Swilling, Ron Weissenhofer, Ernest Dixon, Chris Bordano, Charlie Clemons, Orlando Ruff, Alfred Fincher, Alfred Fincher, Jo‐Lonn Dunbar, and Ronald Powell.
Our selection is going to be Swilling, an outside linebacker, who played for the Saints for seven years, from 1986-1992.
After playing his college football at Georgia Tech, Swilling was selected by the Saints in the third round of the 1986 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Swilling was part of the first Jim Finks/Jim Mora draft class, which also featured the likes of Jim Dombrowski, Dalton Hilliard, and Rueben Mayes.
As a member of the “Dome Parol” linebacking corps, Swilling was a six-year starter for the Saints, compiling 354 tackles, to go along with 76.5 sacks, three interceptions, and seven recoveries.
A four-time Pro Bowler during his time with the Saints, Swilling was a key fixture in of one of the top defensive units in the league during his time with the franchise.
Swilling's best season was 1991, when he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year, after leading the league with 17 sacks.
The Saints traded Swilling to Detroit prior to the 1993 season. He played with the Lions for two years, before heading to the Oakland Raiders, where he finished out his career in 1998.
In all, Swilling played in 12 seasons in the NFL, recording 468 tackles, 107.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries, and one touchdown, while named to the NFL All-Pro team five times, in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993.
Swilling, who was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009, was elected to the Louisiana State House of Representatives from New Orleans in 2001, serving one term, and currently works as a real estate developer in New Orleans.