BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For the first time since Dave Wilson was selected in the 1981 supplemental draft in the first round, the New Orleans Saints drafted a quarterback. New Orleans drafted Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson in the third round. He'll learn the tricks of the trade under veteran quarterback Drew Brees and that's a good thing. Will he be the next starting quarterback down the line for the Saints? Let's see how he develops under the watchful eye of Brees.
"That's a guy that I think caught Sean Payton's eye early on, as well as our scouts and our assistant coaches, "stated Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. "The more we dug into him in terms of the evaluation, the background, all of the thinks that you look for, it just seemed like every box we checked in terms of a quarterback that you want to help develop. We went and worked him out and had a great visit with him. He's a good candidate for us."
The Saints also have veteran Luke McCown and former Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin in the mix.
Before the draft the Saints talked about character issues and wanting to build stability in the locker room.
Loomis said, "I think we did re-emphasize that focus coming into this draft. I know Sean Payton talked about it and we've talked an awful lot about re-emphasizing the character, the intelligence, the toughness, the productivity of the players that we selected. I think that is a reflection of that."
One of the Saints strong points on offense is the offensive tackle position, so why did the Saints draft Andrus Peat of Stanford in the first round?
Loomis said, "There's nothing wrong with drafting to a strength. He'll be in the mix just like every other player.
He'll be in a competition, and look; we are fortunate to have Terron Armstead and Zach Strief manning those positions at right and left tackle."
When the Saints evaluate the players in the draft, do they forecast those players as becoming immediate starters?
"We're not against them playing right away, "said Loomis. We are looking for contributions to our team, but that doesn't always mean they are going to start. They are going to play when they are ready to play and they have earned the right to play. I think expectations for rookie players are unrealistic for the most point. I think it's an exception when a rookie comes in and does spectacular things, and yet we seem to have that expectation for certainly every first round pick."
Loomis said the Saints needed to improve the defense and also improve the depth on defense. He said he's pretty excited with the guys New Orleans drafted.
Clemson linebacker Stephone Anthony excelled on the college level having piled up 330 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for a loss. He's the Saints other first round pick and he could see early playing time as a rookie.
Hau'oli Kikaha was drafted in the second round out of Washington. He's another aggressive linebacker who led the nation in sacks last season with 19. However, he's has a problem with ACL tears to his left knee.
One player who has a big upside if Tennessee-Chattanooga linebacker Davis Tull. Every scout loved his ability and he has a motor that doesn't stop. He rang-up 10 1/2 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss in 2014.
Missouri running back Marcus Murphy was the last player drafted by New Orleans in the seventh round and he's a little guy at 5 feet, 8 inches, but he using quickness to come up with big plays. The Saints have him penciled in as a special teams guy who could get the starting nod.
As I said earlier, you really can't say this was a great or poor draft year until a few years down the road, but a number of the players drafted have the all-famous "P" word... potential. If they can contribute in some way to improve on last year's seven-win season, it would be a step in the right direction.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis announced the signing of these free agents on Monday: