NEW ORLEANS — In theory the draft is over for the Saints after Day 2. They made two trades and have no picks remaining. It was stunning the way it unfolded in Day 2. The Saints, as it turned out, were trying to get back into round two to get Zack Baun, the linebacker from Wisconsin.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis said the team was trying for more than an hour to get into round 2 and then into round 3 and eventually they made a trade with Cleveland. He said the Saints were definitely willing to pay more than what they did for Baun.
Then they traded the rest of their picks this year – four picks – rounds 4, 5 6 & 7 – to move into the very end of round 3 to get Adam Trautman, a tight end from Dayton, who describes himself as a traditional tight end, the highest-rated tight end for the Saints in the draft. In fact, Loomis said that all 3 players they got, including Cesar Ruiz, who they got in the first round, they had rated in their top 40 picks.
We asked Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton about a three-man draft class and if that was disappointing and they said that, look, for us, it’s quality over quantity. Both Payton and Loomis believe the roster is stacked and it is, and there are not a lot of opportunities for young guys to make the roster. A sixth or seventh round pick might not make it anyway, so they decided to invest in guys they like.
Both Payton and Loomis seemed almost giddy about what they were able to accomplish in the draft, getting three picks in their top 40.
Personally, I love Baun, we had studied him a lot. I think what dropped him out of the first round – Mike Detillier had him at the end of the first round of the draft – is that he did not run a good 40 time at the combine. He ran a 4.65. Nobody got a chance to fix those at pro days and it really hurt him in the draft. He ended up falling into the end of round 3 and the Saints were happy to get him. He had 12 and a half sacks last season for Wisconsin and he was also very good in coverage. He’s a guy that if you watch him on the field, he plays way faster than that 40-yard dash time. He is quick. He looked good in coverage. The Saints needed an athletic linebacker and they got that.
The Saints felt they needed an interior offensive lineman, they got that. And they went out and got the guy they thought was the best tight end in the draft, who will help in the passing game.
The Saints call it successful and you certainly understand their logic when you look at the roster.
My reaction is I like this draft even though it’s only three picks. Now, the Saints obviously could give up a pick from next year’s draft and move back into the draft.
In the Baun trade, they did give up a third rounder last year, but they should get a third round supplemental pick back for losing Teddy Bridgewater in free agency.
I like the draft, obviously we’ll see when the Saints get to training camp, which we hope will be in August, these are three players that Payton said they had clear visions for. They’ve done a great job lately and I’m going to trust them and say I like what they’ve done so far.