Welcome to my thoughts, Saints fans! I'm Scott Williamson, and I'm a lifelong Saints fan. I've always had a passion and love for writing and especially writing about the Saints. When I was given the opportunity to come on board with CSC, I jumped at the chance. I hope that you all enjoy reading my work as much as I enjoy putting it together! Now, on to my first article...
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule and answer a series of questions for me pertaining to the Saints and the upcoming draft. Miller, if you didn’t know, is the lead NFL Draft writer at Bleacher Report. We’re going to jump right into the questions and I’ll do a short recap at the bottom.
Assuming nothing crazy happens 1-10 and goes as expected. What do you see the Saints doing at 11th?
Getting a pass-rusher opposite Cameron Jordan is my priority for the team. Expecting Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas gone by then, Michigan's Taco Charlton fits the bill as a 4-3 defensive end with speed and power to line up on the edge and make an impact as a three-down player.
Quickly, no description needed, who are best fits from this class for the Saints at QB/RB/G/CB?
Deshaun Watson - Christian McCaffrey - Dan Feeney - Quincy Wilson
What do you think the Saints do if Leonard Fournette falls to 11th? Take him as BPA or trade back?
At this point, I'd say that's an extremely rare scenario, but if he's there you take him. A good running back can only help extend the playing career of Drew Brees and will help the team in some of those early lead situations where they need to pound the ball and control the tempo.
The Saints have an incredible history of finding late round wide receivers and getting massive production from them. Who is a guy that could go round 5-7 this year that could be our next Marques Colston?
Mississippi State's Fred Ross is a guy I really like that could slip late and potentially be a Round 5 steal. He's 6'1" and 200 lbs and doesn't have blazing speed, but he's a good possession target and a really strong hands catcher. I don't ever expect him to be a true No. 1 receiver, but he'd fit in well with Cooks and Thomas.
Hypothetical. Let's say QBs go 1 and 2 which leaves Myles Garrett sitting at No. 3. Any chance Mickey Loomis calls old friend Ryan Pace and tries to sneak in to 3rd to get, in my opinion, the best player in the draft?
If that happens, the Bears will make the pick in record time. Every team I've talked to has Garrett as the No. 1 player on their board.
Three names that Saints fans should keep a really close eye on at the combine. Guys that maybe you've heard linked to the Saints.
Taco Charlton, Derek Barnett, Quincy Wilson
We've all heard the rumors about the Saints possibly trading for Jimmy Garoppolo. Give me a number 0-100 as a percentage chance you see of that happening.
I'd put it at like 5%. The Saints do need a QB of the future, but if they trade for Garoppolo this year you're going to have to pay him in free agency before the 2018 season and he'll want top QB money. For a team that's struggled with cap health, that move seems very far-fetched unless the front office knows this is Brees last year.
Same concept. 0-100 chance of Saints falling in love with a QB and taking him at 11th?
This I see as realistic. If Watson is there and the Saints love him, it would make sense. Studying this front office though, I get the feel they'd love to unearth a second-round steal at quarterback instead of "reaching" for one in the first round. Brad Kaaya, Nathan Peterman and maybe Patrick Mahomes if he's there are more likely fits based on draft history than a first-rounder.
Let me change gears for one question - last one. In your opinion, is this the last season we see Brees and Payton together in Saints gear? Brees is a free agent at year’s end, and Payton has been the center of trade talks the past two offseasons. Curious to hear your opinion on this.
So much depends on wins. The roster has a good nucleus with up-and-coming playmakers, a solid OL when healthy and a stout defense at key positions. I could see Brees playing 2-3 more years and Payton being around for all of those
First off, I want to thank Matt for lending me his time and expertise on these questions. Matt has done a lot for me as a journalist, and I want to make sure that is recognized. He is a tremendous human being and really roots for other journalist to do well. He has helped me in many ways and continues to do so. I strongly suggest checking out his work over at Bleacher Report. He is a very good talent evaluator and one of the best draft experts in the business. Take some time and ask him a Saints related question too, He is great at interacting with his Twitter followers. His Twitter handle is @nfldraftscout.
I wholeheartedly agree that the Saints have to add a pass rush across from Cam Jordan in this draft, and they need to do it at No. 11 to assure the defense can get an immediate impact player to plug into Dennis Allen’s scheme. I believe the Saints draft will be focused on defense with emphasis on the front four and secondary. This is the deepest cornerback class I can remember, and would expect the Saints to take advantage of that.
While I don't see the Saints taking a QB at 11th, I wanted to clear the air and get Miller’s opinion on it. He did agree that the Jimmy Garoppolo rumors were just that, rumors that seem to pick up speed this time of year in every offseason. He did state that he wouldn't be completely surprised if the Saints fell in love with a guy like Deshaun Watson and took him at No. 11. Miller did go on to say that he would categorize that pick as a ‘reach’ if it did happen though.
I’d tend to agree with what Miller said later on the quarterback question. I believe the Saints will have their eyes on that 2nd tier group of QBs led by Brad Kaaya, then followed by Peterman, and possibly Beathard. I left out Mahomes because I currently have him in the top tier for quarterbacks.
One thing that was very surprising to me was the fact Miller mentioned Fred Ross as a steal in the fifth round. I wasn't impressed by Ross at the Senior Bowl, and really haven't loved him at all on film. Miller makes an excellent point in that answer though. He isn't a burner, but a true possession receiver that has great hands. That is exactly what I was looking for when I sent Matt that question. I just never guessed his answer would be Ross. Someone who fits really well with Cooks and Thomas is exactly what the Saints need though. Someone who doesn't necessarily demand a lot of playing time in year one who can sit back and learn the offense and take over if Willie Snead leaves via free agency. It makes a lot of sense after how it was broken down.
The Brees-Payton question was one that I needed for my own personal reasons. I’ve been so torn on this the past two offseasons and have battled with so many other Saints fans over it. I want to see them together in New Orleans for as long as is possible. I’m 100 percentPRO Brees-Payton, and will be no matter what. Obviously, as Miller stated - wins mean everything. I know that if they don't produce this year, it could very well be the end. So, here’s to hoping the Saints draft well, pick up great free agent playmakers, and make one last run in the Brees-Payton era.