The Draft Has Officially Started!


#1 draft pick (MockingTheDraft.com)

LOTS of action going on today!! Miami signs Long. (Which one!?) Shaun Alexander no longer a Seahawk and the Saints are hanging out with Bush. Let's jump right into it!

The big news of the day is the Dolphins signing of OT Jake Long from Michigan. I give to you the NFL.com coverage. Like the Texans in 2006, the Dolphins just couldn't wait until this weekend  to improve on last seasons misery.

They signed the former Michigan left tackle to a five-year contract with $30 million guaranteed, and they'll select him with the top pick in the 2008 NFL Draft on Saturday...Long becomes the highest-paid lineman in the NFL and a 6-foot-7, 315-pound cornerstone in a rebuilding project for the new Dolphins regime led by Bill Parcells..."Jake was our guy from the beginning," general manager Jeff Ireland said. "Jake Long was on the top of our board for a long time. There wasn't a whole lot of debate. We thought it was a very good fit with the Miami Dolphins."

                                                                                 

Shaun Alexander was released from the Seattle Seahawks today. NFL.com has the article here.
We all know Shaun has not been the same back the last two years as he was in 2005, or since he signed a fat contract, whichever. Coincidence? That's for you to determine. The question now becomes, "Where will he play next year?"

                                                                                 


Always good for your QB to be tight with the prez! (Gerald Hebert)

In more interesting news, The Advocate had an article on George Bush's visit to our fair city this week. No, I'm not gonna start talking politics. The only reason I am mentioning this is because of who G.W. was chillen' with while in town. Non other than our very own Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush as well as MVP hopeful CP3 and LSU coach Les Miles.

From a spirited rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" at Gallier Hall, Bush was whisked via motorcade to another New Orleans institution, where he dined with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

The surprise came in who dined with the heads of state. At least three New Orleans Saints were in that number: running backs Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister, along with quarterback Drew Brees. They were joined by an off-the-field saint in Archbishop Alfred Hughes.

Along with Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, dignitaries in the audience also included New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul and LSU football coach Les Miles.

Trumpeter Irwin Mayfield and his quintet entertained the Commander’s Palace crowd after dinner.

                                                                                 

The Times-Pic published another article later in the day about Mickey Loomis' thoughts on the draft. Of course his thoughts are pretty important as far as the team is concerned so we should definitely pay attention. It was short, but leaves us wondering just what the Saints are thinking as far as the first round in concerned.

But he did admit that the Saints have talked with a number of teams about what it would cost to move up from the No. 10 pick in the draft. And he said he doesn't foresee the Saints trading down from that spot.

"It's all preliminary discussion. Nothing concrete," Loomis said when asked about reports that the Saints have talked with the St. Louis Rams (No. 2) and Atlanta Falcons (No. 3), among other teams. "The first step is to get an idea of what the cost to move forward is going to be. So that's really what the discussions to date have been. 'A) Are you interested in moving backwards? B) What's your thinking in terms of the compensation you're going to want for that?'"

Loomis was especially cryptic when he was asked if the Saints are targeting a specific player, or if they just like the value near the top of the draft in general.

"Yes," he said, smiling.

"Yes to what?" he was asked.

"All of it," he responded.

Very sneaky Mickey. This should all be taken with a grain of salt. This time of year, teams purposely lie about their plans for the draft to try and fake out other teams, so Loomis was purposely non-committal. Also known as a smokescreen. The only thing we could maybe take out of it is that Saints are not planning on trading down, which would eliminate everyones Lito Sheppard speculation. Of course, I just warned of smokescreens so that probably means we will trade for Lito.

Hey Mickey, what about Jeremy Shockey?

Loomis declined to address reports that the Saints have discussed trading for New York Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey, saying he did not want to talk about any players on other teams.

                                                                                 

Ever wonder who is in charge of scouting and drafting, and how the whole thing works?  The New Orleans Saints official website has an article about the Saints scouting staff and what they go through on a daily and yearly basis. Definitely worth checking out to get a deeper appreciation of our fine organization. What you will learn however, is that it ain't all its cracked up to be.

"The first thing I want to do here is to express my gratitude for our personnel department for the great job they do. Our area scouts: Jim Monos, Barrett Wiley, Dwaune Jones, David Hinson, Josh Lucas and Terry Wooden," said Loomis. "Then there are the in-house guys like Jason Mitchell, Joey Laine, our Director of College Scouting Rick Reiprish, and Vice President of Player Personnel, Rick Mueller. These guys log thousands of miles on the road."

"They spend a lot of nights away from their families and they write a few thousand reports and evaluate 1,300 college football players," Loomis said. "All for us to select six guys this weekend that are going to impact our football team. Our scouts fill a critical role for our organization, just as they do for every team, but they are too often overlooked. So I want to express my gratitude towards them and say how grateful I am for the great job they do for us."

It is enough travel and time on the road enough to make even the most hardened business traveler a tad nauseous. The idea for some is particularly enticing, but the notion of four star hotels and gourmet meals is quickly dashed with the reality of standing in lengthy airport check-in lines, delayed flights, missed connections, and food that comes packaged in cardboard boxes is a far more realistic picture.
All this done on cold, bleak fall and winter days across the country in an effort to be able to help the team compile a "big board," pitting the overall grades of each player against one another. Only to often sit and watch the players come off the board and be placed on plastic magnets on a board showing where all the prospects are headed once the draft begins.

So now if the Saints draft a kicker in the first round this year, you know exactly who to blame!

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