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tiggerpolice 04-19-2006 08:50 AM

Saints won't show hand this time
The New Orleans Saints -- the same franchise that once traded its entire draft for Ricky "Pass the Pipe, Please" Williams -- hold the second selection in next weekend's NFL draft.

Not so long ago, that would have been a dangerous proposition for the franchise that never lost a party but never could win a big game.

However, the Saints are shocking the football world these days by actually playing draft poker the right way, using the leverage they have to force teams such as the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets and Oakland Raiders to contemplate leaving their comfort zones and play on New Orleans' terms.

Perhaps there are more than just some new faces at Saints headquarters these days. Perhaps the loser mentality that has permeated the franchise is being phased out under new coach Sean Payton's watch.

The Saints reportedly will meet today with five players -- USC running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Matt Leinart, Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk, North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams and Virginia offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson at the team's headquarters in Metairie.

Despite the Houston Texans' attempts at drama, it's all but a certainly they'll take Bush with the top pick in the draft. Then, all eyes will turn to New Orleans, and this time no one seems to be giggling at the Saints.

Conventional wisdom holds that since the Saints signed free agent quarterback Drew Brees earlier this offseason, they won't use their top pick on a quarterback. The fact that Leinart will spend today in New Orleans before flying to Oakland Thursday is reason enough, however, to force teams such as the Titans and Jets to worry. The Saints have let people around the league know that they're more than capable of drafting Leinart, pointing out through media leaks that Brees' contract includes team-friendly escape clauses if his surgically repaired right shoulder doesn't hold up.

Tennessee has floated rumors that the Titans prefer Texas' Vince Young over Leinart, but very few NFL insiders believe it. Most believe the Titans would love to reunite Leinart with former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

The Jets, who have three of the first 35 picks in the draft, are a bit of a mystery right now. New coach Eric Mangini hasn't tipped his hand, but unless the Jets are comfortable with Chad Pennington or Patrick Ramsey, they need a quarterback in the first round. Leinart spent part of Tuesday in New York and the Jets will work out Young Thursday. If the Jets decide that Leinart is the top quarterback on their draft board, they'll have to contemplate trading up from No. 4 to No. 2 to guarantee they can make him their franchise signal-caller. Nothing would make the Saints happier.

At least one NFL insider consulted for this column said earlier this week that he thinks Oakland, which owns the seventh pick in the draft, covets the Saints' first-round pick. The Raiders, who traded for former Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks earlier in the offseason, have said they love Young. Some NFL insiders believe that's a smokescreen to cover their adoration for Leinart, and Thursday's meeting in the Bay Area could make Oakland's crush on Leinart far more public. That, too, would make the Saints happy. draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects that the Saints will take Williams in the first round.

"In a normal year, where you didn't have a Reggie Bush or the quarterbacks or whatever, you would see (Williams) be No. 1," Kiper said Tuesday. "He certainly would have been (the first choice) last year. Nobody could find a No. 1 player last year. Mario Williams certainly would have been No. 1, No. 2 overall. Charles Grant did not have a big year, but they have other needs. Is Jamaal Brown going to be a quality left tackle? They need help at linebacker and they could certainly use an A.J. Hawk, but nobody's going to question the pick of Mario Williams. That's where he should go."

SportsNation believes New Orleans will select Ferguson to serve as a bookend tackle alongside last year's first-round choice, Jamaal Brown. Neil Stratton of agrees. Todd McShay of Scouts Inc., however, believes the Saints could end up choosing Leinart, a move that could lead to a trade or expedite Brees' eventual departure from New Orleans.

Most NFL teams use a trade value chart to make sure they're getting enough in return or not overpaying when trading draft picks. The chart assigns a point value to every pick in the seven-round draft. New Orleans' No. 2 overall pick, according to the chart, is worth 2,600 points. The team in the best position to put together a package of picks worth 2,600 points is the Jets, which could trade both of its first-round picks and a third-round pick -- worth a total of 2,675 points -- to move up to No. 2. That would let the Jets select Leinart and guarantee the Saints either Williams or Ferguson, as well as giving New Orleans three of the first 34 picks in the draft.

Regardless, it appears there is a new attitude in New Orleans. The Saints show no signs of rolling over and letting their rivals have their way. That, in and of itself, is a refreshing change.

spkb25 04-19-2006 06:10 PM

RE: Saints won
good article and i really really hope this is the case. my goodness i was looking for just their two first rounder. their third rounder too, could this be true? oh god how lovely it would be.

gandhi1007 04-19-2006 07:07 PM

RE: Saints won

Regardless, it appears there is a new attitude in New Orleans. The Saints show no signs of rolling over and letting their rivals have their way. That, in and of itself, is a refreshing change.
I love that sh*t!!!! That's got to be the best thing I've heard since:


The New Orleans Saints cut QB Aaron Brooks today.


spkb25 04-19-2006 07:38 PM

RE: Saints won
that's good ghandi

gandhi1007 04-19-2006 07:50 PM

Re: RE: Saints won

Originally Posted by spkb25
that's good ghandi

Thanks. I'll be here all week. :wink:

GoldRush26 04-19-2006 08:00 PM

RE: Re: RE: Saints won
Yet some folks would say that we absolutely have to trade down and we need them more then they need us. Glad to see that the new Saints are standing pat and not taking any lowball offers.

ssmitty 04-19-2006 09:00 PM

the last i read about loomis fielding offers had us at zilch.............
that's zero...................
nobody, nowhere, no how...................................
is there any truth to it............well, somewhere, some how, there should have been a leak, don't you think?
but, we're not on the clock yet.................
i agree, it is time to stand pat, regardless.......
slowly, things are going into play although we may or may not see em.......... :wink:
the more we stand on taking leinart, the more we see who is interested or who is looking for that # 2 to get is getting interesting though, is'nt it? smitty

Euphoria 04-19-2006 10:11 PM

The problem that is going to hurt us is that this is a very deep draft. Teams can afford to sit tight and let it all play out and still get the help they need. Its a no brainer what our options are... draft in the second spot or trade down but at what cost? I have to believe our guy is Brick at this point.

Boogro 04-19-2006 10:46 PM

I somewhat disagree at this point that Brick is our guy at this point just for the simple reason that payton moved Brown to LT and stated that it was permanent. He seems to be a straight-forward guy. With that said, I doubt that he would draft Brick to be a RT. I would love to have Brick. If he were in our draft plans then I doubt they would have moved Brown.

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