Kristian: Saints execs sound off on Draft, free agents, camp and more
by Kristian Garic,posted May 8 2014 5:40PM
"With the 27th pick in round one of the NFL draft, the New Orleans Saints select..." Well, no-one in the Saints organization is saying - but the scouts love this Draft class!
Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, Peter Charmichael, Jr, Rob Ryan, Joe Vitt, Greg McMahon, Rick Reiprish and Regional Scouts Dwaune Jones and Josh Lucas all stopped by the radio huddle today live from Saints camp with the Voice of the Saints Jim Henderson and Color Analyst Hokie Gajan.
Starting things off with Payton, he called the NFL Draft "the life blood of the program,” and pointed out that "teams are always looking for pass rushers and corners in the draft."
What's going to happen at center? Coach said "On offense with us, there is change, there is a competition that will evolve at center."
Finally, speaking on an ESPN report that the Saints have interest in Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo, he called those reports "completely false.” ESPN reported earlier today the Saints would take a QB in rounds 2 or 3 and Garoppolo would be the target.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis told us “We haven’t done a lot of mock drafts this year, because we feel pretty good about who the top 15 picks are going to be.”
Will the Saints trade up or down from the #27 perch? “One thing about trading up, you’re trading up for a specific for a player that fits what you do. If you sit back and wait to see what comes to you, I think that’s more of a crap shoot.”
What about splitting training camp between the Saints facility in Metairie and West Virginia? “We need to do something different every 4 or 5 years. I think the change in scenery is good for our team... it would do us some good to get into a cooler climate. I think that helps with soft tissue injuries. I’ve got a good feeling the cooler climate will help.”
On the Jimmy Graham grievance, Loomis confessed “I dont’ know why it came out when it did. Their camp informed me they were going to file it a few weeks ago. I don’t have any hard feelings about it."
Saints Director of Player Personnel Ryan Pace said, “It’s a deep draft, there is a lot of talent in this draft.” The Saints could have their pick of a handful of players they really like when they go on the clock with the 27th pick in round one. “Our board is a little more narrowed in, as far as guys that are for us” Pace said.
Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan touched on a couple of topics, including the turnaround of his defense. “We had great talent already here, and we were just glad to be a small part of our team's success”. Speaking of Champ Bailey, he had high praise, saying "I can’t wait to work with Champ Bailey, he’s got an aura about him... he kind of glows!"
Talking about South Carolina DE Jadaveon Clowney, Ryan said "He can do anything he wants! If he’s not a great pro, I’ll be shocked.”
How does Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt feel about the two extra weeks leading up to NFL Draft? “I think you can get paralysis by analysis at times. You’ve gotten to really know the players better.” Loomis chimed in on that too, saying “There are some benefits to it. I don’t like it but I can’t point to something specific. I love the draft process from beginning to end.”
Kenny Vaccaro is ahead of schedule, coming off his foot injury that shortened his rookie season. Vitt said “He’s got great intelligence, great instincts. He’s got a lot of great things going for him. And when you meet Champ, he takes great notes, he gets along great in the locker room. All the young kids gravitate toward him.”
Special teams coordinator Greg McMahon on replacing Darren Sproles: “I hate to use the word replace, because we loved Sproles. I tell you a guy we are excited about is Travaris Cadet. We’re excited about him and I think you guys will be too!” How about at kicker? “It’s wide open, and Shayne (Graham) knows that.”
Director of College Scouting Rick Reiprish on USC WR Marqise Lee: “You look at both years, if you have a feel for the player and you like the player, you go back and do a little work on him.” Also bullish on Champ Bailey, Reiprish said “he’ll get your attention no matter where he plays.”
What was Rick Reiprish's take on Johnny Manziel? “He’s a different talent... the translation to the pro game should be no problem!”