New Orleans Saints Executive Vice-President/General Manager Mickey Loomis
Post-Draft Press Conference with Local Media
Saturday, April 30, 2016
With only having five picks total, is that something you weren't aiming for early on?
"Well, I am always aiming for 20 picks total but obviously we didn't have that. It was just the way that the draft fell, and the moves that we made. That is what we ended up with. I am excited about it. I am excited about the moves that we were able to make. There were opportunities, we were looking for some opportunities sometimes to maybe move back and pick up a pick or two, but it didn't manifest itself. As I mentioned before pre-draft, I tend to favor moving up and going after somebody, but I am not opposed to moving back and picking up picks."
You've called Jeff Ireland a voice of reason as you said last year because you and Sean (Payton) are so aggressive. Was it just the players this year?
"I think it was the players that we got that we wanted to get. I'd say that more than anything else."
It seems like guard was a position of need for the team before the draft; why did you not draft a guard? Is that a position you will target moving forward?
"First of all, we went into the draft and in a perfect world we would've gotten a guard, and we had our eye on a few guys. We just didn't get the opportunity to draft them where we thought the value existed. We've got some candidates in-house, we will be aggressively pursuing some college free agents, and we'll look at some veterans as well."
Were you looking at Joshua Garnett?
"I rather not say the who. There were a few guys that we liked. I didn't think that they were a lot of players at those positions in the interior line. We had our eye on a few but it just didn't turn out that way."
Will Andrus Peat factor into that situation at all?
"He could. We're going to do our best to get our five best offensive linemen on the field. I think Sean (Payton) and our staff do a great job of that."
In (last year's) class, there are a couple of guys that are forgotten about like Davis Tull and P.J. Williams; is there an update on them and did they have an effect on this draft?
"I wouldn't say that they affected this draft, and yet we've seen some things about those guys that are encouraging. This offseason's going to be real important for them. In Davis' case he was injured and missed most of last offseason. We saw a couple of glimpses in training camp last year that we were really encouraged by, and then he got hurt again. He's had to rehab that and rehab is going well. I'd say that we are anxious to see what we have in the coming months. P.J. as well. We like the talent. That is why we drafted him a year ago. He's in and working hard in the early part of our offseason here, and we are really encouraged by that as well."
Can you talk about what you liked so much about David Onyemata?
"That is an interesting story. Obviously, you guys heard from him and got to know about the story now from his coach. We were really intrigued with his talent. We recognized that he wasn't playing in an SEC school obviously, so there are some questions about the level of competition. Man, we like the traits and the talent. We liked the guy, the makeup of the player and we went aggressively to go get him. We had some information and I am pretty confident that he wouldn't have been available to us if we would have stayed right where we were at. We're excited to have him and I would say that we see some versatility in this player. We're expecting some early contribution. This isn't a guy that is just going to sit and not be productive for us. I think we expect some early contributions from him."
Did (defensive line coach) Bill Johnson really go to bat for him?
"I think everyone that saw him beginning with our area scout, and following all the way through with Bill (Johnson) and Brian Young and everyone that looked at him, I would say that everyone was standing up saying this is a guy that we want."
It seems like you guys have put a lot of resources into Canada over the last few years. Is that because of the success that you've had with some of these guys?
"I don't know about that. I think that's just coincidence. Look, it's good work by our scouting department to look outside the box a little bit. I wouldn't say he was a secret though. I think he was a guy that people knew about and that a lot of teams liked. It just becomes a manner of managing the draft so that you can get him at a spot that you feel good about. I wouldn't say that this was something that only we knew about. That was not the case at all."
Were the Green Bay Packers the team that you were trying to get ahead of?
"I'd rather not say what teams, but there were a few actually that we were concerned about. I wouldn't say that we were absolutely sure that someone else was going to take him, but there were a few teams that we were concerned about. "
How about Daniel Lasco?
"You get to the seventh round and you're looking at the highest graded guy on our board at that time. There were a lot of things about him that we liked. We see him initially as a third-down back. You're a seventh-round pick, you're going to be a four-core special teams player. We like his makeup, like it a lot. We think he's going to be a real strong guy for our special teams, and then we'll see how he develops as a running back."
Was there a position that you feel that you weren't able to fill in during the draft?
"I think you mentioned it already, the interior line position. We went in hoping that we would be able to get one in this draft. It just didn't turn out that way."
Are there positions like that where you may add a veteran?
"First of all, we're going to be aggressive in this college free agent market. Then, we'll end up with 90 players on our roster. We're going to look at every opportunity to improve our team. If it's a veteran down the road, a free agent or maybe a trade, we'll explore a lot of opportunities. I wouldn't say that there is anything glaring that we feel we have to do. But there are some things that we will look at pretty seriously."
What do the scouts do now? Is there downtime now for them?
"Well, they aren't getting any off time right now because they are upstairs working on these college free agents. We've got some clean up to do. We'll look at our draft process over the next few days. We'll bring them back probably for our minicamp, and then we'll spend some more time tweaking our process a little bit. They'll have a period here to exhale over the next few weeks."
How did you feel about the draft? Did it go as expected for you?
"I think we feel pretty good about it. I wouldn't say that it fell as we expected because you never really know what to expect, but at each point there were some players that we felt real good about. It wasn't a case where, all of a sudden, you end up with nobody that you have targeted or really liked. I think it went really well for us."
What happened when television erroneously said you passed at 120?
"We didn't pass. We had our pick in and that was an incorrect report. It was close though. That was a product of the trade and getting the paperwork approved, and getting the kid's name spelled right on the card. There are all sorts of things when you have less than a minute and a half to go. Our card was in on time. It was close. There are a lot vowels in this kid's name. It was close but we did have our pick in time."
Sean (Payton) had mentioned that you liked both Ohio State players (Michael Thomas and Von Bell) at 47; would you say that your top three picks were among your top 30 players?
"I rather not say that. It was up there though. The four guys that we got were pretty high on our board. Everybody can tell you that and does say that. It sounds a little redundant when you say that."
How is the process now with acquiring college free agents?
"It's a little chaotic. I would equate it to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. There is a lot of 'hey, hey' going on. There are a lot of players and moving parts going on, and we have limited roster spots. There are a lot of teams after this group of players. It's a little crazy but it's good. It's crazy fun."
Where did quarterback fall into your list of needs or musts; did you think that you might end up with one?
"Well, we just didn't get the opportunity to take someone in a spot where we felt good about it. I wouldn't call it a must necessarily but look, you're always looking to add to your team."
You guys seemed to have a plan coming into free agency and then the draft; do you feel like it worked out pretty well, with the free agents you brought in combined with these guys?
"Yes, I do. I wouldn't say that we did everything that we wanted to do, and yet I think that we did the majority of the things that we had on our action list early on, we got accomplished. We still have more work to do too though."
New Orleans Saints Running Back Daniel Lasco
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Saturday, April 30, 2016
How much contact did you have with the Saints?
"Throughout the combine I sat down with a couple of the coaches and was able to talk to them there and learn that they had some interest in me, but a lot coaches at the combine are just doing their job. I didn't really think into it. The running backs coach (Joel Thomas) came down to Berkeley and I was able to sit down with him and have dinner with him and he talked with me and was trying to see what type of person I am outside of football and just able to get to know my personality. Once he sat down with me I was able to figure out the Saints were pretty interested in me. Coach Thomas is a great individual and (I) was able to talk to him for a couple hours and then the next day he worked me out on campus and we went from there."
How do they want to use you?
"I know I am a special team's guy. I know I am great on special teams and I know I can impact the game and give the team an edge in all phases of special teams. I am going to start by making my living on special teams and help the organization out the best I can doing that and with that I will sit behind some of the great running backs that are there, be able to pick their brains and learn what it takes to be a great NFL running back. I am just honored to be put into that system with such high-caliber athletes and learn from them as well as the coaching staff. It is just a blessing to get that phone call and be able to go somewhere that is close to home."
Do you return kicks and punts?
"I can, I did not do it in college, but on special teams I am more of a defensive-minded individual and I think they see that and me being able to run down on kickoffs and on punts and be able to block and things like that."
How are you health wise?
"I am 100 percent (and) ready to get to work. I have been 100 percent since after our season ended. I went to the East-West All-Star Game, was 100 percent there and was able to do pretty well in that game and then was able to go to the combine and light the combine up. I have been healthy for a while training, working and getting my body ready for what it's about to go through."
What were your injury problems?
"The second game of the season I had a hip injury I ruptured my pectinis, which is right under your abductor and your hip and that sidelined me for a couple games and once I was able to come back full swing I messed up my ankle as well. That limited me to a couple games throughout the season and it was a very upsetting season. I learned a lot from sitting on the sidelines, but I was able to recover and now I am blessed to say that I am 100 percent."
Did you say you are from this area?
"I'm from Houston, Texas where I'm staying right now. I went to school in California. Now going to New Orleans, my family will be able to travel real close. It will not be too much of a transition. I am used to the weather conditions and everything that will be thrown my way. I am just excited and I will put my front foot forward and get things rolling."
What were the last few days like for you?
"It has been stressful. I think everybody going through this process, all the athletes are all stressed out. No one really knows where they are going and I know my agent kept promising me different things and I kept telling him to not tell me anything because I didn't want to be disappointed and unfortunately I dropped so low, but I'm so glad I got picked up by such a great team. Going forward I'm just blessed to be a New Orleans Saint and it was a fun process that I spent with my family. I came back from Berkeley about two weeks ago. (I've) Been training out here in Houston, have my whole family here at my uncle's house, all my friends and close friends. I was actually sitting down with my agent going through free agency what would be the best system, what is the best fit, where should I go things like that and it was very upsetting time and I saw my phone ringing, saw 504 and I knew that area code pretty well. I was excited just to answer the phone and everything else is history I guess. I was able to talk to Coach Payton as I saw my name run across the ticker on NFL network and just dreams came true in that moment."
Did you feel like you would rather be a undrafted free agent so you could pick your team?
"Not at all, going into this process I've always loved the Saints growing up. It's just I never wanted to tell any of the coaches or anything like that through that process about who my favorite team was growing up, who I idolized because I didn't want them thinking one way or another, but I have always been a Saints fan always enjoyed watching them, but it's crazy and it still hasn't hit me that I am a part of the organization right now and I know I have a lot of work to do and a lot of things that I need to do in the next few months to make sure my name is on a locker in that locker room. I am ready for the opportunity and ready to get after it and go to work. I am glad that they decided to pick me in the 7th round. It doesn't matter if it would have come down to it in free agency and they were interested this would have been the team I would have went to. Regardless of being picked up late I am just blessed to say that I got picked up."
So you're saying you withheld that info hoping they would select you?
"Maybe, maybe it did the job."
Have you ever been to a Saints game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome?
"No sir I have not. It was hard going to football games just because playing high school football and things like that and being from Texas I went to Texans games and got to see them play the Texans here and there. I never really was able to get out to New Orleans so I know that there is a lot of culture and a lot of history and I am excited to see what the city has to offer."
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