- The Saints were fans of Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, general manager Mickey Loomis told Larry Holder of NOLA.com (Twitter link). However, with Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore still being on the board, New Orleans wasn’t too interested in moving up for the signal-caller. Mahomes was ultimately reelected 10th overall by the Chiefs.
The Saints have acquired the 67th overall pick from the 49ers, tweets Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. New Orleans will give up a second-round pick in 2018 and a seventh-rounder this year, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
The Saints had been working to move back into the second round in order to draft a pass rusher. But the second ended without a trade for the club, which will instead settle for an early third-rounder. Surprisingly, the Saints will select Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara with the newly acquired pick.
The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Kamara was a dual threat as a member of the Volunteers, with whom he averaged 6.2 yards per rush, caught 74 passes and combined for 23 touchdowns over two seasons. It’s unclear how many touches he’ll receive during the early part of his pro career, though, as the Saints already have Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson as their top two backfield options. Of course, a timeshare won’t be anything new for Kamara, who coexisted with Jalen Hurd at Tennessee.
After selecting Utah safety Marcus Williams at No. 42, the Saints are trying to trade back into the second round in order to draft an edge rusher, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). In its effort to move up, New Orleans is offering both a third-round pick this year (No. 76) and a second-round selection in 2018.
The Saints had trouble pressuring opposing quarterbacks last season, evidenced in part by their 27th-place ranking in sacks (30). Defensive end Cameron Jordan and outside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe combined for 11.5 sacks, but the Saints otherwise got little pass-rushing production from the rest of their edge players.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- When the 49ers called Reuben Foster to inform him they were selecting him 31st overall, he was on the phone with the Saints at the time. New Orleans, which picked 32nd, was already welcoming Foster to the organization. But once Foster got word that he was going to San Francisco, he hung up on the Saints (Twitter links via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee).
Last night, Saints coach Sean Payton had a candid chat with reporters and shared some interesting info. Here’s a look at the highlights:
- The coach said all of the trade possibilities the team previously considered for veteran cornerbacks “still remain open” depending on how the rest of the draft falls (Twitter link via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com). Payton, ostensibly, is referring to the Saints’ trade talks with the Patriots regarding Malcolm Butler. When New Orleans drafted Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore with the No. 11 pick, many assumed that the team would back off of its pursuit. Personally, I don’t believe that the Saints will be willing to give up significant compensation for Butler now that they have Lattimore, particularly since locking him down will require a hefty contract.
- Payton said the Saints even had talks about possibly trading up to land Lattimore. They also listened to offers to trade down, but ultimately stood pat (Twitter link via Triplett). He added that Lattimore was the team’s third or fourth ranked player on the board heading into the draft (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of The Advocate).
- The Saints were considering Reuben Foster and Takkarist McKinley at No. 32 before they came off the board, Payton told reporters (Twitter link via Triplett). With both players gone, the Saints selected offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
- Payton views Ramczyk, who played left tackle at Wisconsin, as a right tackle (Twitter link via Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune).
A Malcolm Butler trade is “unlikely … but not impossible,” according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link via Zack Cox of NESN). With just hours to go before the draft, the Saints and Patriots will have to act fast to get something done.
The Saints and Butler have reportedly agreed to terms on a potential contract, but the Saints and Patriots have been far apart on trade compensation. The Saints could have signed Butler to an offer sheet as a restricted free agent, but an unmatched sheet would have forced them to part with the No. 11 overall pick. Some believed that the two sides would ultimately compromise on a trade sending the Patriots’ No. 32 pick back to New England, but that has not materialized thus far. The Patriots, reportedly, are not interested in acquiring 2018 draft compensation for Butler, so time is ticking for a trade to go down.
As it stands, Butler is set to play out the 2017 season on his $3.91MM one-year tender.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- A few weeks ago, the Saints were willing to trade what was thought to be a second-round pick to the Rams for franchise tendered cornerback Trumaine Johnson. However, Johnson was unwilling to sign a long-term deal with New Orleans because of his desire to remain in L.A. The Rams have pivoted away from Johnson trade talk, but Schefter wonders aloud if a team could gamble by trading for him without a long-term pact in place. Personally, I can’t imagine a scenario in which a team is willing to give up significant draft capital to the Rams without a multi-year contract for Johnson. It’s also hard to see the Rams settling for, say, a mid-round pick. It’s hard to see Johnson playing anywhere other than L.A. in 2017.
New Orleans hasn’t “really had any discussions for quite some time” about acquiring Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, according to Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, while head coach Sean Payton notes that the 27-year-old is “with New England, and I don’t think anything has changed. I don’t see anything being imminent as well (links via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com).” Their statements came on the heels of a report suggesting the Pats are unlikely to trade Butler, whom the Saints have chased throughout the offseason. New Orleans courted Butler as a restricted free agent and even agreed to a multiyear contract with him, but the club doesn’t want to meet the Patriots’ asking price for the onetime Pro Bowler.
More from New Orleans:
- Running back Mark Ingram posted a career year in 2016, rushing for 1,043 yards with a 5.1 YPC, catching 46 passes and combining for 10 touchdowns. Now, thanks to the Saints’ addition of seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson, Ingram will have to share a backfield with a higher-profile rusher. Nevertheless, Ingram is glad to have Peterson on the roster. “I’m all about winning, man,” Ingram said (via Teope). “If this will help us win, I’m all about winning. I’m all for it.” Ingram added that he’s “been sharing the ball with one or two, maybe three guys” since New Orleans drafted him in 2011. That has indeed been the case, as the likes of Pierre Thomas, Tim Hightower and Darren Sproles have gotten plenty of carries during the Ingram era. Hightower picked up 133 last year, for instance, but it didn’t stop Ingram from thriving.
- Even though Peterson’s a 32-year-old coming off an injury-marred season, signing him carries little risk for the Saints, opines Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Triplett expects Peterson to have a bigger role in New Orleans than Hightower did, but he notes that Payton is excellent at allocating playing time to multiple running backs. In Triplett’s estimation, Payton’s expertise with RBs likely added to the Saints’ allure for Peterson.
- Loomis indicated Wednesday that he’s unsure if the Saints’ contract talks with wide receiver Willie Snead will lead to a deal, though he seems optimistic. “He’s here working and I don’t anticipate issues with Willie going forward,” Loomis said (via Herbie Teope of NOLA.com). “I’m excited that he’s here. Look, he’s been a good player, a good contributor to our team and expect him to be our team for a long time.” While Snead could be on the Saints’ books at a relatively meager $615K this year in the absence of a new pact, he still hasn’t signed his exclusive rights free agent tender. Regardless, he’s not eligible for unrestricted free agency until after the 2018 season.
Cal quarterback Davis Webb is expected to be selected at some point in the middle of Round 2 of the draft, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. Webb has been mentioned as a possible first-round pick, and the dearth of quarterback options could certainly push him up the board. But Day 2 looks more likely, per Pauline, who adds the Jets, Saints, Chargers, and Cardinals have shown the most interest in Pauline thus far. Those final three teams, notably, currently employ veteran signal-callers, which would allow Webb at least one year of development.
- The Saints could consider Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, or Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 11th overall pick, according to McShay. New Orleans has fielded one of the league’s worst defensive units for several years, so any sort of upgrade on that side of the ball shouldn’t be ruled out. Hooker isn’t expected to come off the board in the top five picks, but should be drafted between No. 6 and No. 13, per McShay. Reddick, meanwhile, is expected to be a top-15 selection and could even sneak into the top 10.
- Houston pass rusher Tyus Bowser is expected to be a late first-round pick, sources tell McShay. Bowser, who managed 8.5 sacks last season, could conceivably appeal to a number of teams picking in the 20s or 30s. Speculatively, the Lions, Dolphins, Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, Falcons, and Saints could all use an edge defender late on Day 1.