NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - First things first. Did the New Orleans Saints have discussions to trade up to the top of the draft to secure the No. 1 pick?
New Orleans General Manager Mickey Loomis responded by saying, "No. There were absolutely no conversations. I didn't have any conversations with anybody at the top of the draft."
Were there talks to trade up?
Loomis said, "No. There were not any discussions about moving up with any team."
If the Saints had traded up that probably would have meant New Orleans was interested in securing one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. Loomis said that didn't happen. When it comes to the NFL the quarterback position is always one of high interest, especially since Drew Brees is getting up there in age.
Loomis said,l "I think we look into the quarterbacks every year. We have for the last few years. We need to have an eye towards the future, but we're happy with our quarterback situation as well, so I think that's just part of the process every year. We maybe had a few questions that we needed answered that maybe in the past we haven't had to have answered. I don't see it as being dramatically different."
According to Loomis there are a number of quality players on both sides of the football.
"That's a good question. Right now we have more defensive players on our board than offensive and yet, the strength of the draft is going to be determined two or three years from now when we look back as opposed to today just looking at the numbers that are on the board. Look, it's going to be a different viewpoint for every team, depending on who we draft and how they turn out, so I guess the answer to your question is that we probably have a few more, not a lot of defensive players on our board than we do offensive players."
To be successful in the NFL, to become a consistent playoff contender the key position is the quarterback and Loomis says that's why you saw the early trades with teams moving up.
"I think it's quarterback-driven, "stated Loomis. "Certainly a lot of that is how the rookie contracts work now as opposed to the way they did five years ago and during that period you were talking about, especially the top ten. But, there's a lot of talk every year. There are a lot of deals pitched and a lot that get close but not as many that get consummated. I think it will be the same thing. I don't expect this flurry of activity that would be unusual and yet I know there will be a lot of talk."
Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche and Noah Spence were researched by the Saints and one of them could be drafted by New Orleans.
Loomis said, "We looked into the background, we looked into the incidents. I'd rather not say if they are on our board or not. But, obviously we had both of those guys in for visits and they had good visits with us."
The 2016 NFL Draft has a number of quality offensive linemen who can play guard or tackle, so could the Saints be looking to draft a young player who can jump from tackle to guard or guard to tackle?
Loomis said, "We look at all those positions. What you're saying is true yet I don't think that's any different than any year. We are always looking at players and what they played in college and if there is a better fit for them at another position and what's that fit for us and what we're looking for. I think each team has a common set of traits and skill set you are looking for, yet there are nuances with every team and every coach in what they're looking for at a specific position, so the answer to your question is yes we do look at position flexibility as well as is this particular player better suited in our game and with our team playing a different position?"
Under Loomis and head coach Sean Payton, besides a players talent, the Saints stress drafting character.
"It's extremely important, extremely important, "stated Loomis. "It's one of the first things we look at."
Drew Brees has yet to sign a new contract and with the 2016 season looming, will that hinder the play of Brees on the field?
Loomis said, "Drew's been through all this. He's been through everything I think you can be through as a player. I don't see him being distracted by anything. I'm for getting a deal whenever you can get a deal, period and I don't think that Drew's the type of person or player…He can compartmentalize and focus so well, we've all seen that, that it wouldn't be a distraction for him either way. I don't want to speak for him. That's a question for him more than me. I don't have any qualms about doing a deal whenever you can get something done for him that's good for the franchise."