Chad Bower / Eyewitness News
NEWORLEANS-- The New Orleans Saints selected Cal DE Cameron Jordan with the 24th pick in the 2011 draft before trading their way to a beefed up backfield to nab 2009 Heisman Trophy winning running back Mark Ingram.
The Saints swapped this year's second-round pick and their 2012 first-rounder to New England to select Ingram, a junior who carried Alabama to a national championship in 2009 while rushing for more than 1,600 yards.
'At the end of the day, we had the opportunity to get the best runningback in the draft and the last time we were able to get a really strong runningback was Deuce McAllister,' Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said. 'This guy has the same kind of character as Deuce, so were excited to add him to Reggie (Bush) and Pierre (Thomas) and Chris (Ivory).'
Said Saints coach Sean Payton: 'We like (Ingram) a lot in regards not only to what he brings to the field but off the field as well.'
Loomis said because he expects the Saints to be Super Bowl contenders this year, it made sense to pull the trigger on the trade despite losing future picks.
'With Drew (Brees) and the team we have now, we have a window of opportunity, so we want to do everything we can do to take advantage of that window of opportunity, so that's why I made the deal,' Loomis said.
The immediate question now is what taking Ingram means for Bush, a former Heisman winner himself, and his future with the team. He's owed nearly $12 million next year and the Saints aren't expected to bring him back unless Bush agrees to restructure the deal.
Payton said the selection would have 'no bearing'on that decision.
'Reggie has a certain skill set with skills that we value a lot,'Payton said. 'This is a runner who I would say has a much different style. So I wouldn't even begin to look at how it will affect Reggie.'
Bush, however, took to Twitter after the pick with a short, caustic message:'It's been fun New Orleans.'
Saints take Cameron Jordan
Jordan started all 12 games at left defensive end in his senior year at California, finishing with 62 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks.
'We think he is an outstanding athlete. He brings a lot of size and athletic ability,' Saints director of college scouting Rick Reiprish said.
While Jordan played in a 3-4 defense in college, he made it clear during pre-draft interviews that he's up to playing anywhere along the defensive line, Reiprish said.
'He's a 3-4 end, but they play all those defenses,' Reiprish said. 'He's athletic enough to do a lot of those things.'
Jordan said he is going to 'fit in fine.'
'I adapt well,'he said. 'Iget along with everybody. Everybody gets along with me and I'm going to try to fit in well.'
Jordan said he was eager to get to work with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his smash-mouth style.
'I know in the past they've been able to pin the ears back and get after the quarterback,' Jordan said. 'As a defensive end what more can you ask for?'
Reiprish said Jordan was high on their draft board, one of their two highest-graded players on their shortlist.
'We were very surprised and nervous in the three or four picks before we got there,' Reiprish said.