Saints sign first-round pick dt Sullivan to seven-year deal

Updated: July 31, 2003, 8:41 PM ET

METAIRIE, Louisiana - Johnathan Sullivan, the highest-picked defensive tackle in franchise history, signed a seven-year contract with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Looking to bolster their defense, the Saints traded up to select Sullivan with the sixth pick in the draft. The 6-1, 313-pound Sullivan left Georgia after his junior season.

A power tackle who collapses the pocket and is a force against the run, Sullivan had 10-tackle games against Florida and Auburn last season and finished with 74 stops, including 15 for losses and four sacks.

"We are glad to have this contract finalized, we expect him to be a key part of the defense and now he has to focus on getting prepared," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said.

Already with a strong offense, the Saints struggled defensively last season, ranking 27th in the league. They also ranked 26th in points allowed with 388.

Sullivan was the second defensive tackle taken after the Jets chose Kentucky's Dewayne Robertson with the fourth pick.

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