After the New Orleans Saints chose Florida State CB Patrick Robinson to close out the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, head coach Sean Payton discussed the choice and some of the other happenings in the selection meeting's first day
Opening Statement:"I know Mickey (Loomis) and myself would want to start with really commending all the scouts and the work they've done leading up to this first pick. There's a lot of work still ahead of us. A lot of speculation might go into what type of player is available when you're picking at 32. We had a handful of players that have been in, a handful of players that have interviewed and gone through that process. We're excited. We were able to add a corner to our roster. Certainly it's a position we valued, really historically it's a position that's been valued in our league. We're excited about the selection. We're also looking forward to the next couple of days and going through this format for the first time in the evening. It was much like a night game."
What caught your eye about Patrick?
"He has good size and speed. We like his ball skills. He's been very productive at Florida State. You can see it on the tape. You see his speed, size and production and spending a lot of time just throughout the process and evaluation in putting the grade on the player was a thing that set them apart."
Did you get any trade offers that that point with two quarterbacks still on the board at that point?
Were there a few players at that spot you considered or did he jump out?
"When you get to the latter part of the draft, gradually you get down to where you have your two or three selections and there are two or three teams. He was a guy, where Detroit selected and took the running back, we felt confident that he might be available. Indianapolis took (Jerry) Hughes the defensive end. We were excited about the selection. You're kind of flexible. I don't want to get into the group of players that was left, but you do go through that period of waiting and following everything that's going on in front of you."
Did you have all defensive players listed at that point?
"Right towards the end we did, but the middle of the round, towards the latter part, you had a couple of offensive players that were picked, some guys that we certainly had good grades on now."
Do you have any musts remaining on your board for draft or free agency?
"There are still a couple of positions you would like to be able to address in the draft and hopefully as tomorrow progresses and finishes on Saturday and finish that process, I think it would be a little bit easier to talk about those spots, but we're excited that we were able to add another good defensive back that has ball skills and plays with confidence and really has done a good job, not just in one year. He's had a pretty productive career."
Did you entertain some trade offers in that spot?
"Not really. I know Mickey (Loomis) had a two or three calls. You prepare just in case maybe. Drew (Brees) had made the trip up there. I sent him a text and told him that we were going to be trading out in the first round, but I think there were just a few that had interest. I think you really pay attention as a contingency plan if by chance maybe one or two of the players left are selected ahead of you."
Did you make any serious attempts to trade up?
"Not really. You discuss some options, but throughout the process, Mickey (Loomis), Rick (Reiprish), the scouts and coaches, a lot of time was spent putting the list together and making sure there was a player we had graded and felt good about drafting. It's the first step."
Did the injuries to Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter last year where you had to play without them for a while factor into your decision?
"No. I think just the value of that position and the importance of having good quarterback play. Certainly when you look at those injuries, it affects what you're able to do, but this player had a real good grade on him. There was a lot of time spent on the evaluation process with Patrick and for good reason."
Could this present a domino effect in a decision of whether or not to re-sign Darren Sharper and of possibly moving Malcolm Jenkins to safety?
"I think it is too early to consider our options in terms of how we want to play out the positions. Just getting quality, young players, we just feel like it's going to give us a chance to upgrade ourselves, but there will be a lot of scenarios discussed. We'll spend a lot of time. Fortunately it's April now and we have a lot of time to sort it out. Malcolm we thought had an outstanding season his first year, a player that made a lot of plays for us and impacted games. We're excited about another young corner."
With this being the first year in this new format, how late do you expect to be at it tonight?
"I don't think it has to be too late. You really have until five tomorrow. It's really different when you're starting early in the morning as opposed to the later p.m. start time. There will be the process of re-looking at the board. It doesn't really change the stacks. But you pay attention to who's been taken and you get into tomorrow in rounds two and three."
Was choosing a cornerback a luxury?
"Cornerback was a position that we felt like we'd like to address. We went through some injuries. We just understand and appreciate all of us the importance of having solid play out there. When we were healthy, you saw the difference defensively and I think that it's a position that's hard to find in free agency. I think that's where it started. It was one area we looked at where we saw if we could find a young corner, not knowing what round, if the grade matched the round that was certainly an option."
Is it interesting how much deeper the cornerback position has gotten in the past couple of years?
"It's a hard position always to find. It's hard to get in free agency. There are certain positions that are maybe easier to address in the offseason through free agency, but generally you draft for those guys. We were able to obtain Jabari (Greer) through free agency, Malcolm (Jenkins) and Tracy (Porter) through the draft, Randall Gay through free agency and of course Patrick (Robinson) now through the draft. Those guys are young and I think that we've improved certainly in that area.
Do you like Alex Brown and Jimmy Wilkerson and do you think that addressed your needs some on the line?
"Yes. They're both different type players. But we felt like we maybe wouldn't have been as handcuffed heading into the draft if the right players were available. We just wanted to make sure there was a fit and a vision. Ryan Pace did a really good and through job of looking at and giving us our options. They each have a different skill set. That helped us we think as we headed into this weekend and maybe gave us a little more flexibility."