One week from the NFL Draft, Saints Coach Payton dropped by Sports Talk to speak with me and Bobby Hebert.
The Coach talked with us about their system of building a draft board.
"For the last three weeks, the scouts are all in the offices," along with the coaches, Payton said. "It's a process of reading these players, position by position. You start with, let's say, one side of the ball or the other. You might start with the running backs, spend a day going throught the grades, listening to the the reports, trying to get your final stack. so underneath the running back column, which would be at the top of the board, you'd begin to stack these players...and then to the left, would be the various grades...So you stack and you grade the positions. You work through your offense, you work through your defense, and then you begin to see how these graded players match."
So, does the Coach focus on a particular need, or the particular player on the board?
"Certainly, we're looking closely at our defense, and that would be a priority," he told us. "So much of the attention is spent on the first round, and understandably so. But for us to really have a good draft, you have do well in those middle-later rounds and get some good players, because there are a number of them. You try to find the qualities you look for and you think they inject into your system."
The Coach also talked about getting his team ready for the challenge of getting back to the top after he's been away for a year.
"I think, number one, you've got to be honest and candid. We've talked breiefly..about this past year, about all the distractions that took place the last year," Payton said. "The key to being successful and winning is all the details, and creating that competition that's necessary. When you have that competition, everyone in that position group plays better. And it's important for us to create that."
"The Field Mouse” did run to and fro. He vanquished many, an NFL foe. His size was diminutive for all to see, but his heart was big, as any tall tree. He played with passion for the “Dome Patrol” and his coaching spirit was an inspirational force in the Panthers’ post-season run to a Super Bowl. He left his mark on both Panthers and Saints. We thank him and honor him as one of our true franchise Saints. Rest dear No. 51. Your hard work, here, is done. Sam Mills, your spirit, heart, an inspiration will always be in the hearts of Panthers and Saints fans. Now, God has you working in his many other, game plans.