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Sean Payton Has “Crystal-Clear Vision” for Christian McCaffrey

Smokescreen or not, Sean Payton isn’t hiding his affection for the Stanford running back.

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the possibility of the Saints selecting Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey with either of their first round picks. Though it is very unlikely for McCaffrey to remain on the board at 32, several outlets are now projecting the Saints drafting him with the 11th overall pick.

Even though defense is a greater overall need in 2017, there’s no denying the running back position is probably the thinnest roster position on the entire offense. It’s the only offensive position, in my opinion, that would even warrant a pick before the second round.

Several comments on my last article seemed to agree with the case for selecting McCaffrey if he falls to 32, but were at the same time hesitant to assign the same value for him at 11 overall. However, that’s exactly where WDSU’s Fletcher Mackel has McCaffrey coming off the board for the Saints.

Obviously, this could be a pre-draft smokescreen move, but Sean Payton told the MMQB exactly how highly and clearly he thought of McCaffrey as a possible Saint.

“He’s got the ability to make people miss, but also to make tough yards in the pile,” said Payton, who likes him. “I’ve got a crystal-clear vision of the player. He’d be like Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush for us, kind of the Joker role [versatile back]. But I think you have to have a pitch count on him.”

Maybe Payton is simply weighing whether an electric and diverse offensive weapon that needs monitored snap counts is worth the 11th overall pick. With the way the Saints have picked at 11 in the past, even a non-defensive starter like McCaffrey would be the best Saints pick at 11th ever.

The Saints will have to weigh this out and decide what to do with their first pick because the dynamic back will almost certainly be gone by 32, as CSC’s own John Hendrix projects the Eagles taking him at 14.

He could be a perfect fit in Doug Pederson’s offense, filling the void that Darren Sproles will leave when he eventually retires. The Saints made the mistake of trading Sproles to the Eagles. I hope delivering McCaffrey to them doesn't produce the same regret. Only time will tell, and I personally can’t wait for April 27th.


If McCaffrey is there at 11th, do you pull the trigger?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Yes! He’s the type of offensive player they need
    (606 votes)
  • 47%
    No! Defense is more important
    (828 votes)
  • 11%
    Eh, I think they could a guy like him in later rounds
    (195 votes)
  • 6%
    I love tacos
    (108 votes)
1737 votes total Vote Now