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Q and A with Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

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New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Click here to listen to the audio in Windows Media
Saturday, April 25, 2009

Opening Statement:

"We're obviously excited about our selection of Malcolm Jenkins. He's one of those guys that we feel like can help us very quickly on defense. I know a lot of you will ask the question as to what position we project him as, and we see him as a corner. Obviously he has flexibility; he's a guy who has played over the slot. But we see him as a player that has size, real good ball skills, toughness, and we're excited that he's joining our team. We took a little time coming out here because we were still working in the middle to the latter half of round one and we're going to do so here in the second round even without any selections with the possibility of obtaining a second if there's a player there that we would like."

There were reports that you were trying to trade with New England to take Beanie Wells. Were those reports accurate?

"We had talked with New England a couple of times and it just didn't work out."

Was it Wells that you were trying to get?

"He was the back that we liked. Because he lasted the way he did, we thought there was value with that pick. We thought a lot of the player as well."

Can you tell us what kind of package you were offering?

"I'm not really going to get into that."

Was it future picks?

"Yes, it would have to be. In order to get into the first round, you'd have to be dealing with – if you look historically that got into the first round it takes a little bit and for us it would have had to have included a pick next year. It's somewhat complicated because as each pick goes on it possibly changes a little bit, but I think those reports are accurate."

Were you willing to part with that pick?

"We had discussed it and it just never got far enough along."

Was it a no-brainer for you at 14 and did you receive much interest in trading out of that spot?

"Obviously the trade up and get player was (Mark) Sanchez, I think everyone felt that way even before the start of the draft. We weren't really interested once Malcolm was available of moving that pick at all. We felt that way going in. You try to have your list of players available at 14 and he was our first choice. We weren't going to entertain any offers – not that there were any at that time. We really felt like there was only one player that people were going to move for early in the draft and that was the quarterback."

What is it about Jenkins that makes him able to play cornerback or safety?

"He's smart; he has real good ball skills; and he has the size and toughness that you look for in a defensive back. He has versatility, but we felt in evaluating him that he was an exceptional corner at Ohio State. I like his size. He's extremely intelligent. I think he's a guy that's very competitive. We think he's a guy – and you guys will have a chance soon to visit with him – we think he's very mature and this transition for him, or for any of these guys, is a pretty steep learning curve. I think his intangibles when it comes to football IQ, toughness – those are all things that will help him be successful at this next level, regardless of position."

Did you have any questions about his speed?

"We didn't see those as big issues. We felt like we were getting a real good football player; a guy that has been consistent there at Ohio State. There are so many things about him that we like. We were thrilled that he was there at 14."

Do you see him as a starter right away?

"We don't ever see a draft pick as a starter right away. You have to bring these guys in and let them compete. In fairness to our current roster, we would never do that."

In talking about making trades, were other teams seeking players or draft picks?

"It was draft picks. The discussions we had in the last hour and a half after our selection were all discussions that revolved around draft picks rather than players."

What was the thought process of taking a defensive back over running back? Where do you go from here with the running back situation?

"Again, if we think there's an opportunity to help our team – and it may not be at running back, it may be another position. In Beanie's case it was a specific player. I think the danger is just chasing the position. We feel good about the running backs that we have on this team. There are two guys that haven't played a lot in Lynell Hamilton and Mike Bell, so we'll see how it goes. We're still in the second round here and we're just moving forward."

Was Beanie Wells up there with Malcolm Jenkins at 14?

"He was in the group of players discussed, but when Malcolm was available there wasn't any discussion. In other words, we would've taken Malcolm Jenkins. Again, you pool together a group of players and (Wells) was in that group for us."

Was your pick a matter of taking the best player available and addressing a need?

"In Malcolm's case, yes."

So he was your guy, even among some of the guys that went before him?

"No question. You could point to a player or two possibly that went very very early, but no question. We were obviously hoping to draft defense and we felt that he was the one player that we weren't going to mess around with trades if he was available, and he was."

How long has he been your pick?

"He was a guy that we kept going through the evaluation process and the answers were yes all the time with this player. In regards to his ball skills, his intelligence, his toughness, we think he has great character. All those things were attractive to us."

Regardless of where you were drafting was he the guy you wanted?

"Yes, no question."

Two months ago, your secondary looked a lot different. How do you feel about it now?

"We're excited about it. We're excited that we were really able to help the position in free agency and help the position in the draft. You don't know if that can happen when the season ends, but I think we've had some key additions that will certainly add competition and add to the upgrade and performance of the position – that's certainly what we're hopeful of."

It seems like Jenkins' stock fell with his 40 time. Do you think he slipped on other teams' boards and did that affect your view of him?

"We just have to pay attention to our evaluation. The national prognosticators were not important to us. But certainly you pay attention and we understand the significance of a 40 time. But that being said, when you watch his body of work which is pretty lengthy, we felt very comfortable with his ability and all the things he brings to the table."

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