The New Orleans Saints drafted tackle Willie Roaf out of Louisiana Tech in the first round eighth player overall, in the 1993 NFL Draft. He was the first offensive lineman selected in that year’s draft.
Roaf started all 16 games at right tackle and did not miss an offensive snap during his first season and earned All-Rookie honors. The following year he was switched to left tackle and performed at a level that earned him more national accolades. He was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time, named first-team All-Pro, All-NFC, and honored as the NFLPA’s NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year for the first of two consecutive seasons.
He played nine seasons in New Orleans where he started 131 regular season games. He also started two playoff games including the franchise’s first-ever postseason win, a 31-28 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in the 2000 NFC Wild Card game.
A knee injury shortened Roaf’s 2001 season to just seven games. Then, just prior to the next year’s draft Roaf was traded by the Saints to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a third-round draft pick. He rebounded from his injury to regain his form. Roaf earned All-Pro honors in three of the four seasons he played with the Chiefs. He was a key part of Kansas City’s offensive line that helped the Chiefs lead the NFL in points scored in 2002 and 2003. The club also led the AFC in total yards in 2003 and the NFL in 2004 and 2005.
The 6’5”, 300-pound Roaf retired after the 2005 season. In all, he played in 189 career games over 13 seasons and was named first-team All-NFL seven times (1994-96, 2000, 2003-05), All-NFC six times, and All-AFC three times. He was also voted to 11 Pro Bowls. The only times he did not receive an invitation to the league’s All-Star game during his career was following his rookie year and his injury-shortened 2001 season.
Roaf is also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
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