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New Orleans Saints use four picks to move up to draft tight end Adam Trautman

'For someone who played at a smaller level, you see a dominant player'

With the 105th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints traded up to select TE [Adam Trautman]( out of Dayton.
With the 105th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints traded up to select TE [Adam Trautman]( out of Dayton.

One word that won't be used to describe the New Orleans Saints' second day of the 2020 NFL Draft is indecisive.

Actually, the word isn't applicable to many Saints drafts, but Friday was a glaring example of the team knowing what it wanted to do, and boldly moving to do it. In the process, New Orleans likely completed its participation in the seven-round phase of the event by trading its remaining four draft picks – Nos. 130, 169, 203 and 244 overall – to Minnesota in order to move up into the third round to No. 105, where it selected Dayton tight end Adam Trautman.

The Saints finished the two days with three picks: center/guard Cesar Ruiz at No. 24; linebacker Zach Baun at No. 74 (a pick acquired in another trade, with Cleveland, where the Saints swapped the No. 88 pick and a third-rounder next year for Baun and the No. 244 pick, which was traded to the Vikings) on Friday; and Trautman.

All three ranked in the Saints' top 40 prospects.

"We are excited. Really excited," Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said. "That's three players that we had in our top 40. I think in a lot of ways, it couldn't have worked out any better."

The Saints assumed Trautman would be unavailable at 105, but when he continued to slide, they compiled the compensation package Minnesota accepted.

"Later in the third round, when you really start looking at the value of our fourth, fifth, six and seventh and you do the point totals, it can appear like a lot, but it really was light getting into the third round," Coach Sean Payton said. "We needed to find a trade partner. Minnesota, fortunately, was one that at the last minute, they were in. We have a clear vision for the two players we selected (Friday). So two things happened: We hit on a couple of need positions, (and) we felt like where we had these guys graded, it really matched.

"We see (Trautman) as a true 'Y.' For a small-college player, we feel like he's got real good in-line strength. He's also someone that I think has got very good hips, so his change of direction, you can see that in how he sets up his routes. So for someone who played at a smaller level, you see a dominant player and we see him as someone that can help us as an in-line tight end. And his first year, build on some of the things that we feel like he can do outside."

Trautman said he knew the Saints were interested, but didn't know how much.

"I didn't have too much (contact with the Saints) coming into it," he said.

"I feel like I'm polished in several areas as it is, but I definitely have a very high ceiling and have a lot of room to grow and a lot of potential."

In his last season at Dayton, Trautman caught 70 passes for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns (ranked fifth in FCS), in 11 games.

"I think he was one of the better blocking tight ends in this draft," Payton said. "I'd say especially for a player that played at a small school, we had a clear vision of an in-line 'Y' – I think he'll be able to carry the weight, I think he'll be able to gain some weight. But we also felt this player was loose in the hips and he was someone that was pretty good with his change of direction.

"I clearly wouldn't have seen him available at the end of the third round. But that's how it works."

Trautman said he already is familiar with the Saints' use of tight ends.

"They obviously use a 'move' guy a lot, Jared Cook," he said. "And then, they do have true 'Ys' and all that on the roster. They do it all, from what I've seen on film. They use tight ends in every single way you can imagine on the field."

The Saints now will conjure ways to use Trautman. Loomis said that he and front office personnel tirelessly worked the phones Friday in order to construct the deals that resulted in drafting Baun and Trautman.

"I think it was fair value," he said. "I feel like our group spent all day on the phone. We were trying forever to make the deal that eventually got us Zach Baun. We tried every team between where we were, at pick 88, and pick 33. We talked to a bunch of 'em.

"And eventually, we get to the pick where we got Zach and as we're sitting there, we're just seeing this player that's kind of out there by himself on our board. So we started calling. And we had probably 10 or 12 teams that we called and had a couple that were close but ultimately, it was Minnesota and we were able to get that done. So, pretty excited about it."

"All of these players are off-the-chart smart and tough guys," Payton said. "They have great scores in a lot of different areas relative to the mental side of the game. Part of that is just our identification, where we're finding what we call the 'same player.' But I think both of (Friday's) picks, as well as (Thursday's), are guys that are going to be able to learn fairly quickly.

"We have this meeting before every draft, and it's, here are those positions that we feel like can come in and contribute. And we felt coming in that linebacker was a position we felt like would have a great chance to compete and make a team and have a clean vision for, how do they play in the kicking game, how many snaps do we think we'll get in special teams. We felt that way about an offensive lineman, and we felt that way at the tight end position."