On the eve of the NFL Draft New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis held a news conference. Did he give any hints as to what the direction the Saints are leaning? No.
He did say holding the 27th position in the first round is not the best position to be in when trying to draft one of the top players in round one.
"Well it's certainly more difficult than it is if you are at five or six," stated Loomis. "We have a pretty good idea of who the first 12 to 15 guys that are going to come off the board. We have no idea what order obviously, and there's always a surprise or two. We have a pretty good idea of the first half I would call it, then who knows?
He added that the Saints have to be prepared for any and all scenarios. Loomis was asked if there is a position group that the team is looking at? He laughed and said he would not answer the question.
A couple of NFL analyst believe the Saints will select a cornerback or defensive end with the first selection. Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean Baptist could be a possibility. He has great size at 6 feet 3 inches and 218 pounds. Seattle has set the high water mark is using big cornerbacks and Baptist fits that mold.
Loomis says while this draft isn't considered deeper than those in the past, it just feels that way.
"I think partly because of the number of juniors in this draft that have declared. Other than that, I kind of look at it as just another year type of thing. Obviously there's different positions of strength, but every year there are positions that are stronger than others so it's no different in that regard," stated Loomis.
When a reporter asked Loomis if the Saints were thinking about the future replacement for quarterback Drew Brees, he admitted that they are well aware that Brees is getting older, but Brees has told the organization he still wants to play for many more years.
Loomis said the Saints used 29 out of their 30 visits to bring in prospects they were interested in. The Saints had a local pro day and Loomis said between 40 and 50 guys were present.
He added,"We had 60 interviews at the combine and we had interviews at the Senior Bowl and we had independent interviews both at the combine and Senior Bowl."
The Saints started out with 3,000 names and whittled that number down to 120 or 130 draftable players on their front board. From there he said the team whittled that number down to 20 or 30 that the Saints would like to have.
"It's a pretty extensive process,"stated Loomis.
He's confident the Saints will have a good draft and through free agency.
"I think we do a good job of recruiting those players,"Loomis said. "We've had a history of success. We can point to a number of guys on our team that have been given an opportunity by our coaches, regardless of how they got here, to be successful. I think that resonates with the agents and the players who are undrafted."
He added that everyone is involved, the coaches, the scouts and himself in recruiting, negotiating, or identifying the players.
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