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Posted: Sunday, 28 April 2013 1:15PM

Mickey Loomis Pleased With Saints Draft Class



New Orleans Saints Media Availability
Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Opening Statement: “Sean (Payton) was just in here and kind of wrapped up each of the players for you guys so I’m just going to open it up for questions.”

Can you give your assessment on how this last draft has gone?
“I think it went well. I think it went real well. The first round kind of fell like we hoped it might and that gave us an opportunity to get Kenny (Vaccaro). Then being able to make the trade and get another third round pick, that was, I think, unexpected, but I like the way that came out, definitely.”

Talk about your picks today and the success you’ve had finding talent in the late rounds.
“I think that gets back to trying to get the best player, the guy with the best opportunity to make your team, without getting too concerned about need. We are relying on our area scouts and our cross-check scouts a lot when we get down in the later rounds. Obviously our coaches receive a chance to take a look at some of these guys and they’ll have an affinity for someone that has a particular trait that we value. I think our coaching staff has shown the ability to take players with special skills and find a way to fit them in. That is sort of the area we are looking to find guys, that is the way we try to find guys. Again, we are not limited to big schools. We’re looking at some of the smaller schools and guys that have been productive at schools that are under the radar.”

Which scout was responsible for Rufus Johnson?
“I think our area scout Mike Baugh and (regional scout) Josh Lucas, who also saw this player, and it started with them. It’s interesting, he’s a player that we got, and I can’t tell you from who, a text from a coach from another team who made the comment that they were kind of high on him and kind of indicated that they might draft him but we got him first.”

When you heard about the fourth round choice for Chris Ivory, did you know it was it?
“That’s not an easy decision because we have an affinity for Chris and his ability, the things that he has done when given the opportunity. I think the only thing that has held Chris back is just having the opportunities because when he has had the opportunities, he’s done well with that. But we’ve got a crowded backfield, we have players that we like, and he is going to be an unrestricted free agent next year so I kind of went into this thing thinking that if someone offered a third round pick, we’d do it for sure. If someone offered a fifth, we definitely wouldn’t do it. And if it was a fourth, we would have to talk about it. That’s the genesis of that. Ultimately, it came down to a fourth round pick that we were, in turn, able to package and move up and get a player that we coveted in the third round.”

Do you anticipate signing a few undrafted free agent running backs?
“We’ve done that in the past, yes. The answer would be yes. We’ll have a college free agent running back in the mix. We have every year, at least one or two. Look, we’ve had good luck in that area. We’ve found some guys, starting with Pierre Thomas all the way down to Travaris (Cadet) and Chris Ivory. We’ve done well in that area.”

Is it easier to recruit undrafted free agents given your track record in that area?
“I think that’s one of the things that we sell is that we’ve had a number of college free agents come in and make our team and we’re not afraid to measure that against a draft pick. Whoever is the best player, we let that person win the competition. Sean (Payton) always says that it doesn’t matter how you get here, once you’re here you’re ours and we’re going to let the best player win.”

In the later rounds, how much of the decision process comes from the measurables and your grade and how much comes from gut reaction?
“Definitely the measurables come into play, but I think this. We’re looking for certain characteristics, intelligence and production and guys that like the weight room, so there are characteristics that we value that we look for in these guys. I think that’s the area. It is gut feel by our scouts, and our coaches in certain cases. It’s a combination of all of that really.”

How satisfying is it to you when a trade works out where both teams get what they wanted such as the Chris Ivory deal? Do you foresee the team signing any significant veteran free agents between now and OTAs?
“In terms of the trade, I am happy for Chris because Chris has been a good player for us, a good guy for us and very patient. I know at times he wished he was used more and yet he never complained, he just went about his business and his job. I am happy that he has the opportunity to receive more carries and be a feature player for the Jets. It will only satisfying if we do well with what we got in return. In terms of signing a veteran player, we’re always open to that. We’ve got names of guys that are out there that we think might be able to help us and we will continue to look at that. But, again, we have some limitations relative to the (salary) cap so we have to pay attention to that piece as well.”

Sean Payton said that with the second pick in the third round, there was about a minute left on the clock. Is that the closest you have ever come?
“That was pretty close. I think there were 20 or 30  seconds left when that thing finally got completed. That put Miami under the gun more than us because they were the ones on the clock at that time. But there was no panic and all of the parties did a good job. The Jets getting their information to the league and certainly Miami and Jeff Ireland. Khai Harley and Ryan Pace did a good job for us making sure that we had all of the details worked out and sent to the league in a timely manner. But it does get a little harrowing when you get down to 20 seconds left.”

Harrowing, but how about exciting?
“Yeah, I would call it exciting. It was like hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait, and then boom, we had a lot to do in a short period of time. It gets your heart going a little bit.”

Guys like Devery Henderson, Sedrick Ellis and Scott Shanle, where do they stand now?
“Look, they’re free agents and probably not part of our plans for this year.”

Was it nice having Sean Payton back in the mix for this?
“Yeah, it was. It was good to have him there and have him focused. He has great input and great insight. (He is) very helpful.”

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