Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
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MOBILE, Ala. ― Rick Reiprish said the Saints won’t change their approach to this year’s draft despite not owning a first-round pick.
Reiprish, the Saints’ director of college scouting, said just because New Orleans traded away their first-rounder in last season’s draft-day swap with New England in order to get running back Mark Ingram doesn’t mean they can’t look at the top players available this year.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the draft,” Reiprish said. “We don’t have one (a first-round pick) but that’s not saying things can’t change. We’re just going to approach it like we always do.
“We know we’re going to pick in the second round so we’re going to evaluate the top 64 players and hopefully one of them will be the right one for us.”
Possibly complicating matters for Reiprish and the Saints is the flux in which the staff remains currently.
The Saints just hired Steve Spagnuolo to be the team’s defensive coordinator and Reiprish said they haven’t had a chance to sit down to talk with him yet.
Additionally, receivers coach Curtis Johnson left to become head coach at Tulane, special teams assistant John Bonamego left for Jacksonville, secondary coach Tony Oden also went to Jacksonville and defensive assistant Blake Williams left when his father (former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams) didn’t re-up with the Saints.
Beyond those who have left, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer have been linked to Indianapolis’ head coach position while Reiprish had been linked to the Colts’ general manager opening before they made a hire.
But as coach Sean Payton has said, Reiprish thinks that’s all a good thing.
“Because we’re successful, it just speaks of the organization that Sean and Mickey have put together,” Reiprish said. “That’s always going to happen to you. Nobody wants to look at, say, they're going to leave the situation but if an opportunity comes up where you can better yourself, that’s fine. I think it’s just a testament to what we’ve put together in New Orleans.”
Meanwhile, Reiprish will continue to do his job with the Saints. The Senior Bowl is one of his staff’s first chances to meet with players and begin evaluating them personally.
For now, they’re just looking for the best players. Eventually, they’ll whittle their list down to need.
“We all have needs,” Reiprish said. “You can say you’re going to go for the best player but we all have needs in the draft and we’re trying to solve some of those situations.”