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Mickey Loomis recaps day two of the 2017 NFL Draft

Quotes and video from Mickey Loomis' Friday press conference

New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, April 28, 2017

Opening statement:
"Good evening. We feel like we had a great night tonight. I think we helped all three levels of our defense, defensive line, linebacker and the back end and we were able to get a player that we coveted on offense that Sean (Payton) will have a great vision for and I would expect (him) to fill the role that Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles had for us in the past. We're real excited. Really excited up there about the players we got tonight. I think we helped our football team."

What is it about that running back role that has made it so important to you guys?
"That has been a key element in our offense over the last 11 years and Sean (Payton) and our offensive coaches have a great ability to take advantage of the type of talent that Alvin (Kamara) and the predecessors here have had so to fill that role with a player of this caliber we're pretty excited about. Obviously that's why we made a trade to come and get him."

Did you expect him to be available that late in the draft?
"No, absolutely not. That is a player that we had going much higher on our board and we talked about (selecting him) much earlier and we went a different direction, but look we tried for a lot of picks to get back into an area where we could take him and it took a while, longer than what we thought it would, but he was still available so we're excited about that."

Do you see Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara playing different positions?
"I think that we've always had (multiple) runners (playing a significant role) and we've had this one specialty back I would call it that over the years that Sean (Payton) will have a great vision for and all of this will sort itself out as we get to training camp and it seems like you can never have enough backs in the NFL."

Did you debate taking Alvin Kamara in the second round?
"His name came up, yes, his name came up absolutely."

Did you think he would be good value then?
"Yes."

How much did you guys ponder a pass rusher until you took one?
"There were guys that we had our eye on and man they started going and it seemed like the guys that we talked about and value that we were at they just weren't there each pick and so it's just the way it fell."

What do you see in Alex Anzalone?
"He is a versatile player, really smart, very instinctive and we think he can play all three positions so we'll see how that sorts out as we get through training camp."

Were you comfortable with Alex's medical history?
"Yeah, we talked a lot about it. Our doctors obviously did a pretty through exam talking about the shoulders and he's had a history of that and yet they felt good about it (and) so do we, but obviously you want a player to be available and like I said our doctors gave us a thumbs up."

What do you think was special about Alex?
"He is a very instinctive player. I think that is what jumps out at you, very smart and he is a playmaker. The only issue is (his) durability hasn't been what he wants and what we would want in his college career, but we feel comfortable with the report we got."

I think you guys have labeled the edge rusher position as a must two offseasons in a row but haven't signed a free agent to a long-term contract or selected one with a high draft pick; are you hard to please at that position?
"We've talked about it and there are guys and that's just the way that it has fell. It is not that we are not looking. It is not that we don't evaluate the players for what they can provide us, we do. There's been a lot of good ones. It just hasn't fallen to the point that we feel really good about taking a particular player at a particular spot. You cannot force those things. That is just the outcome. We only have seven picks in a given draft and you kind of have to take it the way it comes sometimes. We've tried to make trades before. We've tried to trade up at times but it just hasn't worked out."

What excites you about Marcus Williams and what type of role do you see him playing in year one?
"That'll be determined coming out of training camp. The thing about this kid is that he's a ballhawk. He's had 10 interceptions in the last two years. He is a really smart player and that is a theme here that we've got and that we're excited about, that man these players that we are getting are really smart players. (He is) instinctive and is a playmaker and a guy that with time could be the quarterback of the defense in the back end. We are excited to have him."

How is he different from Vonn Bell*?*
"I think Vonn Bell is probably a little bit more of a dual safety. He can play the backend or play strong safety. This guy is more of a free safety, sideline to sideline, ball hawk. He finds a way to get his hands on the ball and turn the ball over. He has done that at Utah and we're expecting him to do that for us."

With the way the draft went yesterday, do you think teams were going to go after positions that maybe were not as deep because they thought that they could get those other positions later?
"I don't know that. You spend so much time creating a board. We're all grading the same players and yet each of our boards are a little different. I think you just follow your board, that is what you do. You trust it. Sometimes there's this consideration of we may be able to get a player at a position a little later. But you are not going to deviate by any kind of margin when you do that."

Is the Malcolm Butler thing still a possibility?
"I don't know. We'll see."

How do you have a list of needs heading into a draft like this? Do you have each listed and sort of check them off? Were the six positions you filled ranked one through six?
"No, I wouldn't say that. Yes, we call them musts and we call them needs. (There are) musts, needs and wants. You are filling out your 90-man roster that way. Musts are musts, right? I don't know that one is more important than another. But yes, you do check them off as you take players and that card disappears."

Were the six positions you filled, the six positions you most needed?
"I don't know that I would call them the most needed positions but each one of those is a must when we look at that roster board, yes."

Was cornerback a must?
"Yes, absolutely."

Why is Marshon Lattimore's injury history not enough to knock him out of your top five on the board?
"You pay attention to it. We trust our doctors and share information with other teams. Well, we don't share it, but the doctors talk to each other at the combine. They create an opinion and we trust what the doctors tell us and we feel good about it."

What changes about the approach on day three when you only have one pick?
"Well there is a lot of waiting. Which we are not real good at that. We will probably overanalyze everything because we are going to have a lot of time. We will make good use of the time and we will sit in there with all of our scouts and we will start talking about who is going to be free agents and who can potentially fill a spot on our roster and we will have that fully covered because of the time we have tomorrow."

How much does the long wait period allow you to possibly acquire more draft picks for that last day?
"Obviously, there is time and we'll talk about it. Look, for us to acquire draft picks for tomorrow we're going to have to give up something for next year and we've already done that. I wouldn't be real inclined to do that."

Can you talk about the reasoning behind giving away a pick next year as opposed to one later in the third?
"I think part of that is what the other team is asking for and what why will take. In this particular case, we looked at it as here's a chance to get a guy who's really ranked pretty high on our board. As I said, we are talking about him in the top of the second round, so it is like we get our second round pick a year early and that is real valuable. That is really the thought process behind it and so you have to give up something to do that."

Would you say it was more you wanted to keep your thirds because of the stuff Sean said about the draft being so deep or them wanting a two next year?
"Yes. A little of both."

Trey Hendrickson, he has the defensive stats, but how much do the blocked kicks in 2016 factor into that evaluation?
"Yeah, you know I think that this is what we like, a high-effort player, very productive, did some really good things athletically at the combine. He can be a contributor on special teams, there's a lot of things to really like about him and that one of them, obviously."

Before the draft you had eight linebackers, now you have nine including Alex Anzalone. How much are you looking forward to that competition?
"We're trying to build our roster and build our strength, and hopefully we've done that."

One of your war room guests revealed that you guys loved Patrick Mahomes. Is it possible that, especially if Lattimore wasn't there, that you could have taken a quarterback with the 11th pick in this draft?
"I would say that was possible, yeah. But, you know once Lattimore is available to us, there wasn't much of a decision to make. But we did like Patrick Mahomes a lot, and I think that's a very good pick by Kansas City."

Is that kind of a... I mean we've talked to you about the quarterback theory for years that you might have taken a guy at 11 because that's your guy, but you could also go three rounds without forcing it. Is that kind of a perfect example of the one guy that sort of tempted you this year?
"Yeah, I would say that's right."

Did you have him (Mahomes) or Lattimore higher?
"Well we took Lattimore and as I said we would've taken Lattimore."

How about that situation with Reuben Foster? How awkward was it?
"I saw that report and that's not exactly right. We called him, Sean was talking with him, asking some questions and then hung up. He (Sean) then said that he'd call you if we take you, and then there was a trade made and somebody else took him, so I think I said that I saw somebody said that he hung up on us, that wasn't really the case."

Is calling guys like that, that you wind up not drafting fairly common?
"No, I wouldn't say so. Typically we don't call a player when we're not on the clock and going to pick them. But we had a question and that's why we called him."

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