METAIRIE, La. ― Mickey Loomis promised during pre-draft interviews that the Saints would be beholden to a specific position and instead would go with the best player available.
Turns out, the Saints’ General Manager wasn’t lying.
The Saints took USC offensive tackle Charles Brown with the 64th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, surprising even the draftee late in the second round.
“I was a little surprised, but it doesn’t even matter this late,” Brown said Friday night during a phone interview with local media. “I was waiting too long looking at the TV.
Why the surprise?
“We didn’t have a lot of contact with him,” Loomis said.
Brown, a 6-foot-5, 292 pound lineman, started 26 games at left tackle during his final two seasons after going to USC as a tight end.
And despite the fact that he could be the fifth tackle on the Saints roster, Loomis said the pick doesn’t spell the end for Jammal Brown.
“I wouldn’t say it that way,” Loomis said. “We’re going to let it sort itself out and there’s nothing with having depth at a position. One thing we need to keep in mind is that we have several players that will potentially be unrestricted free agents a year from now.”
Loomis did say New Orleans has fielded trade calls for Jammal Brown, though nothing from the Redskins regarding defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
“We’ve had a few conversations about Jammal and we’ve had a few conversations leading up to the draft,” Loomis said. “There’s nothing imminent and we’re going to let it sort itself out. We certainly didn’t draft Charles with the thought that we’re moving on from Jammal. That wasn’t the case at all.”
The new Brown recorded 192 knockdown blocks and 28 touchdown-resulting blocks. He picked up only three penalties on 1,810 snaps during his career and gave up only five sacks on 851 passing plays.
As a senior, Brown, 23, earned All-Pac 10 first team honors and was named the conference’s recipient of the Morris Trophy, given annually to the Pac-10’s best offensive and defensive linemen.
He graded out the past two seasons at 85½ percent.
Still, he said he has things to work on once he gets on with the Saints this summer.
“I’m quick on my feet and I’ve got good pass-blocking,” Brown said. “But I need to do a lot of work on my punch though in my pass blocking and a lot of work on my run blocking.”
Loomis seemed to agree.
“We envision him as a tackle,” Loomis said. “One of the things (is) he’s going to be a little bit of a developmental guy for us. We have to get him stronger. He’s only played two years as a tackle. He came into USC as a tight end.
“He’s very athletic and that’s part of the reason we think there’s a big upside for him.”
Brown, who was getting ready for dinner when he was picked, said he expected to go earlier in the second round, where several mock drafts had him tagged.
But falling to the reigning Super Bowl champions certainly made dinner conversation much better.
“Last night would have been great, but I was expecting to go a little bit earlier in the second,” Brown said. “But I don’t want to even harp on that. I’m over it. I’m happy where I’m at. I’m not mad or anything.”