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Fleur-de-Links - April 25th: Are Saints Already Targeting Defense in Draft's 1st Round?

Brian Alee-Walsh thinks it's a strong possibility that the Saints will draft a defensive player for their front seven in round one, based on his recent talk with Sean Payton. Here's what the Coach had to say:

"The draft is deepest at D-line but 60 percent of them aren’t going to make it in this league, so the key is to figure which ones we love,’’ Payton told on Easter Saturday. "This happens all the time in our meetings where we say ‘this guy will fit, this guy will fit, and this guy will fit’ and the fact of the matter is only one of those three are going to be worth a **** in this league.

"So, more than anything else, you got to feel in love with a couple of guys regardless of position and identify whoever it is and say this guy is going to be able to play eight to 10 years in our league.’’

"I want all those quarterbacks and all those O-linemen that everyone is projecting will go in the first round to get selected because it will give us a better chance to get one of those four or five guys that we’re talking about,’’ Payton said.

Payton said he and his football operations staff are "98 percent’’ finished with their pre-draft preparation with only some last minute cross-checking due in the coming days.

"The reports have been written and read, the videos have been watched and evaluated,’’ Payton said. "At 24, it’s pretty typical to begin discussing eight or nine names on the wall, and we’ll cross check and study those guys. We’ll do the same thing in the second and third rounds.’’


He also talked about his plans for next month, should the lockout continue:

Typically, the Saints would hold a minicamp for all draftees and selected free agents and undrafted rookie free agents on May 13-14-15. That minicamp remains in limbo and in all likelihood will be cancelled due to the current lockout.

But the ongoing labor strife will not prevent Payton and his coaching staff from completing their appointed rounds in May.

"We’ll start putting together our offensive, defensive and special teams’ installations and our training camp book and the first 14 practices of training camp,’’ Payton said. "Then, we’ll begin our game preparation for Green Bay (Sept. 8) and Chicago (Sept. 18) and our first few opponents.’’

Payton said he has discussed with Coach Gary Kubiak the possibility of practicing against the Houston Texans prior to their exhibition game in Week 2 of the preseason at Reliant Stadium.

Now, on to the links and tweets.



Adam Schefter
Teams that would like to trade down -though they will keep pick for the right player - include 49ers, Cowboys, Redskins, Lions, Seahawks.

Adam Schefter
Pats, Eagles amongst teams open to trading UP in draft. But right player has to be there and won't know that until draft night.

Joe Browne
by JasonLaCanfora
Hall of Fame RB Joe "The Jet" Perry dead at 84. He played 16 yrs w/49ers & Colts and retired as alltime NFL rushing leader.

Video of the Day: Brees finds a wide-open Lance Moore for an 80-yd TD! Sadly, they don't show Moore's TD dance -

New Orleans Saints
6 Picks: No. 24 (RD 1), 56 (RD 2), 72 (RD 3), 88 (RD 3), 226 (RD 7), 243 (RD 7) MT @ @ # of Saints draft picks?

Darren Sharper
Riding on this accell by Amtrak, pretty nice. There's something more comforting about traveling on the ground and not the air.

NFLPlayerNews Saints | Had contract talks with Scott Shanle before lockout

NFLPlayerNews Saints | Darren Sharper says knee is fine

NFLPlayerNews Saints | Jonathan Goodwin thinks team interested in re-signing him

NFLPlayerNews NFL | Adrian Clayborn believes he can play either DE spot

New Orleans Saints
Wow - Best looking groom's cake of all time? RT @ @ my grooms cake

New Orleans Saints
The @ will like this pic from inside the Superdome...

New Orleans Saints
View from the Superdome pressbox!

New Orleans Saints
View from inside the Superdome!

New Orleans Saints
Bush ranked 7th - RT @ Top athletes in social media

Jeff Duncan
RT @: Lakers player arrested for battery on pregnant waitress, drunkenness @ French Quarter pancake house:

Alex Restrepo
by DougTatum
Front page of today's Times-Picayune

Chris Mortensen
If Judge Nelson rules for players, she could lift lockout asap; she could grant stay pending appeal, knowing chaos is possible. Uncertainty

Chris Mortensen
If Judge Nelson lifts lockout, NFL will ask appellate court immediately to grant a stay, maintaining the status quo during appeal process

Drew Brees
Happy Easter everyone. Just got back from family vacation in Kauai. Favorite Hawaiian island. Awesome family time..and Bowen's 1st Easter

Drew Brees
Getting into stand up paddleboarding bigtime. I get my 14' YOLO Prowler raceboard tomorrow. Designed the color scheme myself. Will send pic

Drew Brees
Fed back 40 servings of my fave meal (IN n Out burger/fries) to feed 800 kids. Will you feedback? $5 will feed 20 kids!



Top Five NFC Teams with the Most Wins Since 2006: NFL Fan - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
1. New Orleans Saints: 49-31 After years and years of suffering as a Saints fan, I never dreamed I would make the following statement. The New Orleans Saints have the most regular season wins over the last five years of any NFC team. When Sean Payton and Drew Brees(notes) arrived in 2006, the New Orleans Saints quickly established a winning tradition after years of losing. Since 2006, the New Orleans Saints have made three trips to the NFC playoffs, won two NFC South titles, made two trips to the NFC Championship game and were victorious in Super Bowl XLIV. It has finally happened. The New Orleans Saints are winners!

Remembering the Day Reggie Bush was Drafted by the New Orleans Saints: Fan's Take - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
2006 NFL Draft After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents like me didn't really care about NFL football. The hiring of new head coach Sean Payton and even the free agent signing of Drew Brees did not distract us much from the reality of what we were... - National Football League news

The Saints' unsigned free agents are working to stay in shape during the NFL lockout, unsure when and where they will take the field again -

Like most free agents, New Orleans center Jonathan Goodwin deals with the uncertainty of NFL lockout |
Nine-year veteran an unrestricted free agent, stuck in limbo

NFL Draft: 10 best and worst of the New Orleans Saints -- No. 2 worst |
Continuing series leading up to this year's NFL draft



New Orleans Saints Draft 2011: Another year promises big guaranteed money to top selection

NFC South family ties in the draft - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward: Father Craig "Ironhead’’ Heyward played for the New Orleans Saints from 1988 through 1992 and for the Atlanta Falcons from 1994 through 1996.

Look who is coming to the draft - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Although there had been some rumblings early on about players not attending the draft due to the labor situation, the NFL announced Monday that 25 exp

NFC South mock draft - NFC South Blog - ESPN
24. New Orleans: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa. Analysis: The Saints don't need an immediate star. But he can be the heir apparent to Will Smith and contribute in a defensive-end rotation for a year or two before becoming the main piece of this defensive line.

Record 25 Players to Attend NFL Draft

Ted Thompson on the draft: Most people don’t know what they’re talking about | ProFootballTalk
There's a cottage industry of experts on the NFL draft at this time of year who are only too happy to pontificate on every player's strengths and every team's needs. The general manager of this year's Super Bowl winner suggests you not listen to those experts.

Of 25 rookies at the draft, only two will be quarterbacks | ProFootballTalk
At a time when as many as six or seven quarterbacks could be among the first 32 players selected in the 2011 draft, only two of them will be among the 25 players who'll make the trek to Radio City Music Hall.

The randomness of late round draft picks | ProFootballTalk
Late round picks can make a solid draft turn into a sensational one.  In the case of Tom Brady, a late round pick can change the careers of everyone associated with the selection.

Mayock on Cam Newton: "I don’t know how great he wants to be" | ProFootballTalk
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is one of the folks not entirely convinced the Panthers will select Cam Newton Thursday night.  They could trade down or take a defensive player at No. 1. If Carolina does take him, Mayock worries about Newton's drive.



"Superstitious" Vick covets Madden cover | ProFootballTalk
Later this week, we'll learn whether the next version of the Madden game will feature Eagles quarterback Mike Vick or Browns running back Peyton Hillis on the cover.

Falcons tied to receivers as draft approaches | ProFootballTalk
When coming up with Atlanta's team needs for the draft -- we wrapped up the series on Saturday -- wide receiver ranked second on the Falcons' list.  Matt Ryan needs another speed option to throw to.

Study of military helmets could provide insight to NFL | ProFootballTalk
A Pentagon study looking for ways to reduce the incidence of traumatic brain injuries for American troops, comparing the effectiveness of different kinds of military helmets as well as two designs of helmets worn in the NFL, led to a surprisingly simple finding: Making helmets slightly bigger by add...



New 49ers GM Asks If Team Can Use Draft Picks For Something Other Than Football Players | The Onion Sports Network
"Our roster has plenty of guys on it, so I believe the franchise should look to address other needs through the draft, like for instance we don't have a trampoline or a pontoon boat," said Baalke, who said he would consider trading the seventh pick in the first round to any team who could offer him a set of beanbag chairs.