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Mickey Loomis: 'I am pretty excited about the picks'

Saints GM talked about nine-man draft class

New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis

Press Conference with Local Media

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Opening Statement:"We have another draft in the books and I am pretty excited about the picks that we made.  I want to make sure and acknowledge and thank Jeff Ireland, our college scouts, our pro scouts, and our coaches for doing a great job this year.  I know that Sean (Payton) has been down here, he talked to you about each one of the individual players, so I will open it up for questions if you have any."

Are you confident that you are going to generate offense without Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills?

"Yes, I think we do have confidence in our ability to move the football and score points. I think coming into the draft we would say that.  That doesn't and didn't preclude us from thinking about drafting a tight end or a wide receiver, but it just didn't really fall to us that way.  Look, it is not a bad thing because we have a lot of confidence in guys that we have on our roster now.  I think that is a little bit of a reflection of that because obviously there is a number of times when we are picking there are real good receivers available and yet there are other guys at other positions available in a similar if not better grade range so that is the direction that we went.  But to answer your question, yes, we do have a lot of confidence in our ability to move the football."

What can you make of the fact that it was going to cost you a lot to move up in the draft this year?

"I don't know.  I think what happens, particularly in the top of the draft, if you are picking up there you've got access to a pretty elite group of talented players so in your mind you are thinking it is going to cost a lot to get me out of this spot.  Some teams in the past have been willing to pay that and we just weren't.  There was never a deal that was close moving from 13 up higher than where we were."

Can you talk about how you haven't drafted an offensive tackle in 10 years? Was any of it a philosophical change?

"No, I don't think so.  The last draft that I participated in Seattle, I'm not taking credit for it but the last draft I was in Seattle, we took Walter Jones and that worked out pretty well for Seattle.  I certainly don't have any aversion to taking an offensive lineman or tackle at the top of the draft based on that experience."

Any reason why you haven't drafted a linebacker in 10 years?

"No, again, I think that is just the way those drafts have fallen, or we specifically traded up to get somebody in another position that we coveted.  There is nothing philosophical about the fact that we hadn't taken a player at that position.  On a side note, I keep seeing this graphic that this was the highest quarterback taken since Archie Manning, but I think they've forgotten about Dave Wilson as a supplemental pick.  He was in the first round wasn't he?  I would say that graphic is wrong.  I think I keep seeing it on my television screen.  I wasn't involved in that one either.  That was before my time."

Last year, you picked some guys who had transferred or underachieved.  Now you've picked fourth or fifth year guys who had all been productive at their schools or stayed at their schools from the start. Does that reflect what you talked about with character issues and wanting to build stability in the locker room?

"I think we did re-emphasize that focus coming into this draft. I know Sean talked about it and we've talked  an awful lot about re-emphasizing the character, the intelligence, the toughness, the productivity of the players that we selected. I think that is a reflection of that."

Did you take more character issue guys completely off your board this year in light of that?

"I don't think there were any more taken off. We've always paid attention to it. We shouldn't give the impression, and I don't want to give the impression, that we don't pay attention to it. We have paid attention to it in the past, I think we just re-emphasized that coming into this season. We want to really focus on that particularly when you're getting young players. My perception is that it was about the same number of guys and for the same reason. There's a variety of reasons for why we say this guys doesn't fit us, it's not just always about character because that can mean a lot of different things."

How much work did you do on La'el Collins?

"We've obviously, like every team, paid close attention to what's going on there. It's unfortunate, the timing of that. Obviously it's concerning, and we'll just have to see what the outcome of that investigation is. I don't really have any comment because I don't know enough about it. We have the same information you have."

Have you ever seen anything that like?

"Not that I can recall. Not this close, right upon the draft. That's what makes it really difficult. Obviously, there's bigger concerns than just the NFL draft. That's a big issue."

What was the influence of Jeff Ireland in the war room?

"It was real positive. Jeff has got a lot of experience, and he's been a part of a lot of successful drafts. His opinion counts, everyone's opinion up there counts. I think my nature and I think Sean's nature is to be pretty aggressive. I think he was at times maybe a little stronger voice of reason for us. There were a lot of calls, I felt like there were more calls this year that we made and that we received about trades that didn't happen than in past drafts. I'm not sure why that was the case, but I feel like we were on the phone an awful lot. Ultimately only one trade happened toward the end of the draft."

What do you see in Garrett Grayson?

"That's a guy that I think caught Sean's eye early on, as well as our scouts and our assistant coaches. The more we dug into him in terms of the evaluation, the background, all of the things that you look for, it just seemed like every box was checked in terms of a quarterback that you want to help develop. We went and worked him out and had a great visit with him. He's a good candidate for us. I like the fact that we have another guy in the mix with Luke (McCown) and Ryan (Griffin). We think a lot of both of those players as well. I think the time was right. The cost in terms of the draft pick was right. It's a great situation for any young quarterback to sit back and learn from one of the best that's ever played the game."

Did you feel like you needed to use all nine picks to fill the roster?

"We went into this thing fully expecting to use some of those picks to move around in the draft. Pre-draft, I would have said we probably won't get nine players, we'll probably end up using some of those picks to move forward. Ultimately that didn't happen."

Are there any ramifications about how drafting a quarterback that high influences decisions you make about how long to extend Drew Brees' contract?

"No, there are no concerns about that. We are going to do what gives our franchise the best chance to win a Super Bowl."

That position is mainly one where you don't do any rotating. Does that make it harder to decide that if you use a pick on a guy that high if you want him on the field or not?

"No, I don't think it makes it hard at all."

Does it apply any different with Andrus Peat because you have to establish starting tackles and yet you drafted him very high at number 13 overall?

"There's nothing wrong with drafting to a strength. He'll be in the mix just like every other player. He'll be in a competition, and look; we are fortunate to have Terron (Armstead) and Zach (Strief) manning those positions at right and left tackle very effectively. You're asking me questions that I can't answer until we get through training camp."

You said the other day, before the draft, that sometimes we put too much expectation on some of these picks to come in and play right away. Were you talking about a guy like Peat that you don't necessarily have to come in and play right away; that some guys can develop and be useful down the road?

"We're not against them playing right away; we are looking for contributions to our team, but that doesn't always mean they are going to start. They are going to play when they are ready to play and they have earned the right to play. I think expectations for rookie players are unrealistic for the most part; I think it's an exception when a rookie comes in and does spectacular things, and yet we seem to have that expectation for certainly every first round pick."

Six defensive players is a relatively high number for one draft. What do you have to say on that?

"Well, we needed to improve our defense. Clearly, we needed to improve our defense and we needed to improve our depth on defense. I think all of us would've said coming into the draft that would've been a goal, yet we don't know that we can always achieve that because of the way players come off the board. It worked out for us, and I would say that we are pretty excited about it."

How late does this next phase of recruiting go tonight? What's next?

"It's kind of chaos up there right now; I have to get back up there soon, but it's like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange up there right now. We've got guys yelling up there, I have people with the phone to their ear, so it's pretty crazy and chaotic, but it's kind of fun. It's going well for us up there right now, and we have a few more guys to get, but that's the fun part. We should be able to get those names to you guys hopefully by the end of the evening or tomorrow."

What is Junior Galette's status, and do you anticipate any kind of disciplinary action coming on that end?

"He's a player under contract for us. I don't know the answer to that question; however, that's up to the league if there is something that they do need to discipline him for. I don't really have an answer for you on that."

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