2011 NFL Draft Results: Fleur-De-Links for Sunday, May 1

Happy May Day, everyone! (But with the sweet 2011 NFL Draft results we had, it's really mayday for the rest of the NFL...am I right, or am I right?)

You're here because you need more, more, more coverage of the Saints and the 2011 NFL Draft. I am more than happy to oblige.

What you'll find this afternoon are initial reports on and reactions to the Saints' Saturday 7th-round choices, further analysis of the 1st- and 3rd-round hauls, as well as big picture breakdown of the draft as a whole. You'll also get some NFC South draft perspective, and labor news.

All this will be brought to you in the usual form of tweets, links, transcripts, and videos, and guess where you'll find them - after the jump.

Twitter

Mark_Ingram22 Man its so many #saint fans everywhere!! There's no other place I'd rather play for than the black and gold! Loving it!!

Official_Saints  The 5 defensive draft picks were the most in a Saints draft since '02, when 5 defensive players were also selected.

usama_young28 Great day working with the kids at my boy Jahri's camp. Time to get out. Hmmmmm....... Atlantic City

jgoody76  A+ RT @tylorlenart: @jgoody76 can i get ur opinion on this years saints draft picks?

jgoody76 Atlantic city kinda #niceeeeeee

ChaseDaniel Yes sir! RT @jgoody76 Atlantic city kinda #niceeeeeee

BillyMiller83 You will hear that a ton very soon! The best fans in the world!!! RT @TezWilson2: Just want to tell everyone #WHODAT

jgoody76 It's been fun tweeps! I'm gone til tomorrow. thanks for the #randomconvos lol

jeffduncantp Try out my Fau-Burger Marigny at Burgerpalooza this month at Phil's Grill. It's zesty & colorful like the neighborhood:http://bit.ly/iDly1F

jeffduncantpTry my Fau-Burger Marigny at Burgerpalooza at Phil's Grill. Proceeds to charity, plus you get a cool T-shirt: http://bit.ly/iDly1F#nola

 

The Saints in the Seventh

Saints stick with defense on Day 3 of the NFL draft, grab end and linebacker | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - The Saints continued with their defensive mindset in the 2011 draft Saturday, taking Pittsburgh defensive end Greg Romeus and Illinois linebacker Nate Bussey with their two seventh round picks.

Saints look at future with late picks | SunHerald.com
Jim Mashek - The New Orleans Saints looked toward the future, perhaps beyond the 2011 season, in making their final two picks in the NFL Draft on Saturday.

Saints Select DE Romeus in the Seventh Round | neworleanssaints.com
Staff Report

New Orleans Saints take defensive end Greg Romeus in the seventh round | NOLA.com
Staff Report - He has been injured, but could be a steal.

Saints Select Bussey with the 243rd selection of the Draft | neworleanssaints.com
Staff Report

New Orleans Saints select linebacker Nate Bussey with final pick in NFL draft | NOLA.com
Staff Report - He's second Illinois linebacker signed by team.

Saints pick Pitt DE Romeus, Illinois LB Bussey in 7th round | sportsnola.com
Les East - The Saints completed a defense-dominated series of picks by adding a defensive end and an outside linebacker in the seventh round as the NFL Draft concluded Saturday. 

New Orleans Saints' late draft picks bring a special element | NOLA.com
Jim Varney - Expectations high for DE Greg Romeus, LB Nate Bussey.

 

Saints Win 2011 Draft

NFC South draft analysis - ESPN.com
Pat Y. - As three division teams were winning 10 or more games last season, we often discussed the possibility that the NFC South is the best division in the NFL. But here’s one thing I think we can say with certainty. The NFC South had a more exciting and interesting 2011 draft than any other division.

NFC South draft review: New Orleans Saints' rivals got stronger | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - Atlanta Falcons amped up offense, Tampa Bay Buccaneers beefed up defense.

2011 Saints Draft Class Recap | neworleanssaints.com
Staff Report - Jordan and Ingram highlight the Saints class.

Saints Draft Recap | WWL.com
Mike Detillier

Saints Got A Lot Of Value In This Year's Draft | WWL.com
Big Chief Deke's take on the draft.

Saints end draft filling holes and meeting needs on defense | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - The Saints entered this year’s NFL Draft with holes to fill and needs to be met.

Saints beef up defense with five of six picks | 2theadvocate.com
Les East - The New Orleans Saints continued bolstering the front seven of their defense by drafting an end and an outside linebacker in the seventh round as the NFL draft concluded Saturday.

New Orleans Saints ready to hurry up and wait after satisfying draft | sportsnola.com
Les East - The New Orleans Saints put the finishing touches on their draft Saturday by picking defensive end Greg Romeus of Pittsburgh and linebacker Nate Bussey of Illinois in the seventh round.  

NFL Draft 2011: Not too early to call Saints First Round haul the best in franchise history | sportsnola.com
Brian Allee-Walsh It’s time to put the New Orleans Saints’ first-round talent hunt in perspective. 

New Orleans Saints draft selections a cause for excitement | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - Team fills needs with 'value' picks.

New Orleans Saints' successful draft eases brain trust's concerns for now | NOLA.com
Jeff Duncan - Large chunk of roster remains in free-agent limbo.

 

Lagniappe

Falcons, Jags ignite draft trade flurry with Jones, Gabbert | SI.com
Richard Deitsch instantly analyzes the first-round trades of the NFL Draft.

Payton 'surprised' if Saints' Bush lands elsewhere next season | nfl.com
The New Orleans Saints made a bold play Thursday when they traded back into the first round of the NFL Draft to grab Alabama running back Mark Ingram, but coach Sean Payton doesn't interpret the move as a kiss-off to Reggie Bush.

Draft takes us away from labor woes | 2theadvocate.com
Scott Rabalais - The NFL draft has become a three-day-long telethon, one of the league’s biggest spectacles that somehow grows bigger and longer despite the fact it’s still seven rounds.

Six LSU football players selected in 2011 NFL draft | NOLA.com
Jim Kleinpeter - It's fifth time in six years at least six Tigers were picked.

 

Labor Pains

Monday could be critical day in NFL labor dispute | SI.com
NEW YORK (AP) -- If these are not fun times for football fans, they are captivating days for lawyers.

With draft in rearview mirror, NFL looks toward uncertain future | nfl.com
Associated Press - One fourth-round draft pick won't be ready to run until August. Another wasn't ready to talk to his new team because he was in the middle of his graduation ceremony.

NFL, players back in lockout mode following 'chaotic' week | nfl.com
Associated Press - From lockout to injunction to limbo and back to lockout -- with a draft thrown in. Not even Super Bowl week gets that wild.

 

Transcripts

New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis' post-draft press conference with local media (via nola.com):

With the court ruling yesterday, are you back to the rules prior to rulings earlier in the week?
"Yes, we're back at the starting point until we hear differently, which is basically no contact with the players, there's not really an exception, but we do have some third party contact on the rehab players."

How many players came to the facility on Friday?
"It was just a few.

Did you talk to guys on the phone too?
"No, nothing like that. When we were able to talk to them, we were just talking about their plans, what we would do in terms of an offseason program. Obviously we weren't going to do that this weekend, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, but we were going to be able to start that on Monday. There was just some communication on that, some communication with the guys who came in about the plans going forward. That's all ending now. We didn't try to get playbooks to anybody or anything like that during that period."

Do you have any thought to how busy you will be at some point in this offseason?
"No, I know we're going to be. I know this; we're ready to go whenever the trigger's pulled, whenever we get the green light, we're ready to go. Every year, I say we have a plan. That's a plan, 21, 22, 28 bullet points. These are the things we want to do. That's ready to go. When we have the green light and the opportunity to do that, we'll proceed in a normal fashion. Free agency in general is a pretty compact period. Everything happens in the first week or two. I kind of anticipate that's going to be similar whenever it happens. We're waiting, patiently waiting. The league and the union will handle their business at some point (and) we'll be ready to go."

Do you think free agency will change with this draft?
"That's a good question and I can't answer it because I haven't said let's take a look at this. Clearly we drafted two ends and a Sam linebacker. It might affect who we go after depending on who's a free agent. I have to look at that. That's something we have to look at. It won't take long."

Do you worry about how many pending free agents you have?
"When I walked in, I heard Sean making a comment about how part of our job is to worry and we do that. The numbers sound a lot more, 27, 28, but most years it's in that 18, 19, 20 range. It seems daunting when you think of it in that term. You boil it down to the who? Does the guy want to come back to New Orleans? Do we want him back? When you start thinking about on an individual basis, it doesn't seem nearly as daunting as me. We've been through it before. I'm a realist. I understand that we could lose somebody we don't expect to lose. That's just the nature of the business. There's no sense in panicking or worrying too much about that. We're going to have a plan. We're going to understand what we can and can't do financially. We're going to put our best foot forward when the time comes and we'll adjust if it doesn't go according to our plan."

Could you have a rookie minicamp on short notice even with the rulings going back and forth?
"Yes, Sean (Payton) and I have talked about what the schedule might be. Yesterday before the stay we had a plan and we had an adjusted calendar ready to go. So, depending on how long this period is whether it's a few days, a few weeks or a month, we'll be able to readjust that calendar accordingly. I think this, it's late April here. It's not like we're talking about June 15 or a date like that at this point. There's a lot of time to make adjustments and fit normal activities into that period at this point. We'll see. It's out of our hands."

Is this draft a better marriage of needs and values than you can remember in most years?
"Yes, I think that's probably true. We said going in we wanted to address our front seven in a perfect world. I clearly think we were able to do that and so that's probably the case. I think the wild card here is running back. I don't think we went in thinking we have to get a running back. That wasn't a stated goal by any means. By the same token when you're able to get what is the best running back in the draft, obviously you seize that opportunity and fit him in."

Is this a real good true start to an offseason?

"Yes, I think the draft is always a real positive and uplifting experience for every team and there's an expectation that we have for these guys. Sometimes it's fulfilled sooner. Sometimes it's fulfilled later and obviously sometimes it's never fulfilled. At this point we have high hopes and expectations for all these guys. I'm excited about the character level of this group, what we know about them so far, how they've reacted to being drafted by the New Orleans Saints. There's a general enthusiasm and passion to come to New Orleans that maybe you don't always feel at least in past year. It's been exciting. It's been good."

Sean Payton talked to Reggie Bush yesterday. Did you talk to him?
"No."

Do you feel as good about the situation as he does?
"I think we've clearly stated that we see Reggie in our plans and so I don't know how to make that any clearer. Obviously there's a contract issue that will have to be resolved at some point. We're not a able to do that right now and so when the time comes and we're able to do it, we'll try to get that resolve and if we can, great. Reggie won't be gone because we don't want him. I don't know how to state it any other way. We have a plan for him. We want him in our program. He's been a great contributor to our team. We wouldn't have been to or won a Super Bowl without him and so we want that to continue. I don't know how to state that any other way."

Did you feel the need to reach out to him yesterday?
"Yes, I think that happens often. You draft someone at a position and you have someone else. We talked to Deuce (McAllister) after Reggie was drafted. Deuce came in and we talked to him and visited with him for a long time because he was a little bit down, wondering where that left him. We made that clear that he was a vital part of our plan going forward and so that happens a lot."

Doesn't drafting Mark Ingram give you contract leverage with Reggie?
"Maybe. I don't know. I think this was going to be an issue regardless of whether we drafted Mark or not. Reggie stated that himself a few months ago. It was going to be an issue whether we drafted Mark or not. I don't look at it as leverage. I really don't."

Are there enough balls for all these running backs?
"Yes, absolutely. That's up to Sean (Payton) though."

Aren't there a lot of guys back there?
"Here's what we have on our team. We have a lot of unselfish guys in terms of wanting to win. We have a good group of receivers that understand that culture in our building. Drew's (Brees) going to give them their opportunities and Sean will give our running backs, all of them, Pierre (Thomas), Chris (Ivory), Reggie (Bush), all of them their opportunities. They'll come. We'll be better as a team for it. I'm not concerned about that. You have to have the right kind of guys in your building to pull that off. I think all of them are the right kind of guys."

Are these guys who could have more substantial numbers if they didn't have to share as many carries with another team?
"Maybe. I don't know the answer to that for sure. It's a good question. I just don't know if it's unusual or not. I know this. Our guys are going to look at each other and say we want to win and if this gives us the best chance to win, then they're going to be for it."

One year removed from a Super Bowl, is it safe to say that the core group exists to win it again, with some additions at some other spots?
"Yes, I believe that. We have some work to do. We have some players to re-sign that are part of our core group, but I believe that, especially as long as we got number nine, I think we have an opportunity, yes."

- - 

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton's post-draft press conference with local media: (via nola.com)

Opening Statement: "With the two seven round draft selections, starting off with the defensive end from Pittsburgh, Greg Romeus, he's a player who only played two games this past season. He had a back injury, but really more recently, an ACL injury. He's in the middle of rehabbing right now. And then middle Linebacker, Nate Bussey from Illinois, he's a guy that has versatility. You see him playing a lot of nickel-will for Illinois. We think he will be a guy that can contribute right away in the kicking game. In regards to Greg at Pitt, he'll be a guy we have to take through the rehab and follow step by step to see where he's at prior to training camp. We're pleased with both of those selections as we try to took at not only position needs at this point in the draft, but some critical factors and really a projection to where we see these players."

At this point how do you keep up with Greg's rehab?
"You find out...fortunately his surgery was performed right there in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers' medical facility is. You're able to, at least, just touch base and get updated information prior to the selection, but we'll have a pretty good handle on where he is at. We felt pretty comfortable prior to the selection of knowing where he was at with his rehab. Who did the surgery, etc."

Is the policy the same as with rehabbing veterans, where you can be updated on their progress through a third party?
"It would be similar to that. It would be identical now that he is a New Orleans Saint."

Can you talk about getting quality guys? Did you come in this morning thinking defense, that we have to get defense?
"Coming in this morning, I would say there was a long wait with the selections that took place prior to us picking. I think our feeling with the seventh round, would probably be the same at the sixth round. Our feeling was, is there a player that stands out? Greg's grade was uniquely different than the rest of the board at that point. Probably and mainly because of his injury. It was really trying to find guys that we think that would make our football team. At that juncture, we discussed a receiver, we discussed a few other positions as we got into the seventh round and then after the first pick, prior to the last pick we made. There was a handful of discussions and they centered around some traits that maybe we felt would give someone an edge."

So five out of six for defense?
"I think a little bit, these last two, I think we did feel this. We felt in this Draft that there was a pretty good clump in the middle rounds of running backs. We also felt that there was a pretty good group of graded linebackers in there. What happened with the selection of Mark (Ingram) in the first round, kind of got us off that middle group of linebackers and we really didn't think Martez would be available in the third so when he was we selected him. Johnny Patrick, shortly there after. All in all, we say this every year, but we're excited to add new players. We'll see where they are at. Certainly, the challenge for this group, differently than any years past is that they will be possibly behind with the fact that we are kind of in a holding pattern, waiting to see when we can begin the process of teaching them and getting them up to speed."

Is it tougher than when what you just said, then maybe to have someone rely on to come in and play right away? Or is that something you can't judge yet?
"I'll give you an example, I don't know if any of us in '06 would have thought that Marcus Colston would be able to play for us as a receiver selected in the seventh round. You guys who were here for that rookie mini camp, certainly, we saw at that point, I don't know if we would have thought that training camp he would be ready. There's a big learning curve. I think some players handle it, maybe more easily than others. It's hard to predict. You hope guys can jump right in, but I think it is hard to put a handle on. You pay attention to the test scores and you find out what you can, as far as their mental makeup. Do they learn football, often times players may not score well on a test, but he is extremely smart from a football IQ standpoint. We just have to wait and see."

This was kind of a unique draft for you guys. You did get a lot of guys that fell pretty far, high value picks but they also met with what might have been your three or four of your biggest needs.
"I think, to some degree yes. There are three players that we didn't have a good feel for where they might go. There were thoughts that Mark Ingram might go first round, but specifically Cameron Jordan, Martez Wilson, and Greg Romeus from Pittsburgh. It's easier when there are positions that, as you head into the draft, you might like to address. It becomes more challenging when the third and fourth round, all of a sudden it might be a player that you would consider yourself a deep-add or not necessarily a group you wanted to address. With that being said, you're excited about it. I've said this before, it's always this time of year that you get excited about new players and I think two, three, four years down the road, you get a really good grade, (you see) how this class can handle the transition and the ability to play in the NFL. We will be excited to get started with them."

You and Mickey Loomis both talked about the need to add to the front seven. Is that something that you felt you would have been okay with if you left this draft and didn't get?
"Yeah, I think we felt like we would be at least be able to add a player with either the first round selection or the two third round selections. Signing Shaun Rogers was a start but I think we felt confident that we would be able to find a player in those first three picks."

Were you able to bring the two first rounders here today?
"They were here today and they've left."

You were allowed to meet them? Shake hands?
"We were allowed to do everything you would do, introduction to the program, players had a chance to once again tour the facility, say hello to the coaches, scouts, ownership, Mickey Loomis, myself. I know they had lunch here and all of that. What they were prohibited from doing was sitting down and meeting on football or any of those activities. Both of those guys were in and both of them have left."

No playbooks?
"Correct. Yesterday at some point, we were prepared to be able to give them certain things and that just changed."

Do you have to be on standby for undrafted free agents in case another ruling comes out?
"I think absolutely. Because our scouts right now, normally, this would be a pretty busy time. We would wait for this seventh round to finish up, and when it was finished, you would spend three or four hours on the phone securing positions with players. That's different this year. We have to be on standby for any change that would immediately all of a sudden put us in a recruiting mode, but right now, there's no contact."

In Romeus' case, is your latest information that he could be ready for training camp?
"I would say that it would take him up to, when you look at the injury, we've had some players here for instance, and I'm just trying to reference a guy like Deuce (McAllister), who had an ACL injury. It's going to put him into the latter part of June, early July, and this would be a player that we would have to monitor in the early weeks, just as we've had some of our players that have had early fall ACL's as it pertained to the following training camp. That time frame is pretty predictable in that it's something that we're going to have to monitor, and all that we knew going in."

Maybe like when Jimmy Wilkerson tore his ACL?
"Similar, and he probably had one of the better or quicker recoveries. I know he worked his tail off to do that. I think that's very accurate. It's very similar to when the injury occurred and then the time frame. We just have to be careful when that time comes and monitor his progress."

Where do you feel like you are roster wise coming out of the draft? Do you feel like you need to address something later on, potentially a free agent?
"I think the biggest uncertainty is that just that there is a number of players on that board in there that are potential guys that we don't know if they are restricted or non restricted. In other words that would be the one thing that is uniquely different today than normal post-drafts. There is that uncertainty as you go through the depth chart with a good number of our players, so we don't know. We wait."

Have you ever had a draft with this few picks or a draft where you had to wait this long?
"That was probably the longest wait that I can recall between what was the third round yesterday and then patiently waiting for four, five, and six, but with that being said, we are excited. We are excited about this group we got and that's pretty common dialogue at this time of the day with every coach, GM, scouting department, so I'm always somewhat reserved, but we will see how these guys do. But I thought our scouts, Rick Reiprish, Ryan Pace, and his group, did a great job this year. We have been very consistent and very deliberate with our process. It takes a while. Mickey had a lot to do with our ability to all of a sudden jump back up there and get in the picture for Mark Ingram. That's exciting, it's contagious in that room when something like happens and we had a chance to call Mr. Benson. Because right after the selection of Cam Jordan, there was the feeling like Day 1 is finished, some people are maybe not in the room, and all of a sudden we are back on the board. Mickey was fantastic. He was great through these three days, but certainly through that first round. He did a great job. For these scouts, and I've said this before, there has been a years worth of work that goes into the grading of these players and so if I could paint this picture for you, there are seven or eight area scouts with there collective group of a dozen to fifteen players. They've got two or three they like, and they have to prepare for a draft with the idea that maybe, as you look at this list, you've got, West Coast, Southeast, Midwest, East Coast, Southeast again, Midwest, that there's an area scout, or two or three, that didn't have one of his players drafted but they've got to come prepared each season with the idea that they've given us a clear picture on a handful of these guys. I think that's the challenge with their jobs, and I think they do it very well."

You say it's common rhetoric for every GM and front office to say we love our guys, but I assume some years it's truer than others?
"We got our guy."

I assume some years you go in thinking you didn't get some of the players you wanted?
"I think part of our job is to worry. I do think that we were able to address some spots and some players fell to us that we didn't anticipate. And you know that because when you begin to discuss first round cloud of players, for instance, six or seven guys, then you begin to discuss the third round cloud of players. A guy like Martez Wilson for instance, when we are discussing third round cloud of guys or players a week ago, he technically wasn't in that cloud or discussion, and yet the discussion revolves around is he a guy that we put in our first round cloud. That type of thing. Cameron Jordan was at the top of that cloud, but you kind of say alright, let's assume he's taken, then next, next, next, and you go through that process. Really, starting with the first round, we were a bit surprised that Cameron was available to us at twenty four, and very pleased that he was."

How far up the board do you think Romeus would have been without his injury?
"I heard that a few of the guys on the telecast, depending on if you were listening to the NFL Network or ESPN. I do think that Mike (Mayock) does a very good job, he watches a lot of tape. This was a player who was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year two years ago. That would just be, and a guess on my part, if I were to just speculate, it would just be that. I don't know, I think he would have been drafted higher than he was selected or earlier than he was selected today, and a lot of that really would be in the eye of the beholder or the team. That would be hard to say, but certainly earlier."

Was there anything about Romeus' personality, the way he dealt with hardship, on and off the field, a specific interest to you?
"What happened was that he came off the back injury and shortly after his second game, he injured his knee. You go back and you begin to really look closely at his junior year film. You have a mark on him, you recognize that this player might not be ready, initially, and yet you make a selection like this with, not just the immediate future but the long term future as well, when you look at a good rehab and someone...the difference with his injury is when you go visit with your doctors, they can foresee a healthy knee when the recovery is over. There are some players with the injury grades that the injury is there and it's going to be there next week, two months from now and two years from now, that weighs on your mind as well. You are at least able to envision a healthy player with a full recovery. I think that's important."

You met him though right?
"Yes. I think the makeup was good. It was solid. All of those things were good.

Do you see Bussey playing strong side or weak side?
"He's definitely a weak side linebacker, and if you put the tape on you would see him in what is a nickel defense, if you will. But he's over the slot receiver carrying the verticals. He's a guy we think is pretty physical. He's got pretty short area quickness. He's a guy that would weigh today probably 238 to 240 in that range. He'll be able to, we think, play on special teams. We worked him specifically last week and we kind of knew with possibly that second seventh round selection, which happens to be the exact selection that we selected Marques (Colston) with, really the compensatory seven that year, that this would be a good or wise pick for us because we felt like he'd be able to come in and contribute in the kicking game right away. We hope he can be a core special teams player and then we'll go from there."

How would rate the NFC South draft picks and where you all are this year?
"That's a good question, I typically stay away from ranking drafts and I really mean this. It's much easier for us to sit in here and say, "Hey let's go back and rank '07, '08 in the NFC South draft or '06." I think it's challenging to do that today and each team has gotten a certain taste. So when the boards are put together, if you travel to Carolina or Atlanta or Tampa there would be some similarities and yet a third of the boards would have some differences so, you know, I think we just have to see and certainly when you watch Atlanta's selection of the receiver early on, he's a player we had highly graded. Cam Newton's a player we had highly graded and obviously the defensive end from Iowa was someone we thought a lot of and had in for a visit. So, you're more familiar with those early selections and then as the middle and later rounds unfolded it's harder to say, now we could sit in there and say hey, cause we do it all the time, a selection is made and there's kind of a pained look on everyone's face because it was a player we all liked. And that might be in the division, and it might be out of the division. So, that takes place throughout the course of the draft, you're always hopeful about a player and then when that name comes off the board, typically myself, Mickey or someone else would say, "Who just selected him if we didn't hear it because you'd want to know who got that player. I think that happens a lot."

- - 

New Orleans Saints defensive end Greg Romeus' conference call with local media (via nola.com)

What are your feelings about being drafted by the New Orleans Saints?
"It's crazy. I feel so blessed. It's such a great situation. I talked to the Saints at the combine and they were definitely a team I was very very interested in. Just hearing my name and hearing coach call me is a feeling that you can't even describe. I want to thank God for that and I'm ready to go over there and get to work."

How's the knee?
"The knee is doing really well. I'm five months out right now. I've been running, doing explosive stuff. It's coming along and my surgeon told me I'd be ready for camp. I'm just going to keep rehabbing it and be patient."

How's the back?
"The back is great. The back hasn't been a concern since my surgery. That's a nonfactor. Right now, it's just the knee rehab."

Do you think the two injuries cost you a lot of money?
"Yeah, it definitely did. It cost me a lot of money, but that's the game. There are injuries in football and sometimes it takes away from you, but at the same time, that's behind me. I know I have to go out and get healthy now to get back on the field."

Your emotions through this entire season, obviously you could have come out a year earlier, and chose to go back to school. What are your emotions throughout this whole past year up to this point?
"Yeah, It's tough. I can't act like I didn't struggle a lot. Emotionally, it's been a tough season for me. I had so many expectations going into my senior year coming back, I didn't fulfill the ones that I wanted to. At the same time, it made me a better person. I've gone through these different things. It's tried me and I'm still standing. I know when I look back, I'm going to look back and just appreciate things so much more."

When you talked to the Saints at the Combine, what did they ask you?
"They were asking me general questions. We went over the film and they brought up good plays and they brought up bad plays. They asked me what I did wrong and they told me what would be acceptable and what wouldn't. It was a good meeting and I was excited afterwards."

Who did you meet with?
"Yeah I met with Gregg Williams. I met with everyone over there, a scout, Coach Payton, I think it was like four or five guys in there."

Considering you're a seventh round pick, and the Draft is winding down, do you feel fortunate to be drafted and not have to go through maybe the undrafted free agency route, since everything is in such a flux?
"Yeah. I feel very fortunate. I feel so blessed just for the opportunity. Just hearing my name and being drafted is such an accomplishment. That was great. And I know with everything that's going on in this agency, it's not looking good right now. It was definitely a great, great, great feeling just hearing my name."

Do you know much about Gregg Williams?
"No, I don't, but I'm excited to find out though.

 

V-Roll Roll Call

Video: Coach Payton Sits Down with NFL Network | neworleanssaints.com
The Saints head coach talks with the NFL Network crew about the Saints first four draft picks.

 

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