Saints hope to find gems late in draft
METAIRIE — The New Orleans Saints have mined the later rounds of past drafts for some of their most talented starters — star wide receiver Marques Colston and All-Pro offensive guard Jahri Evans, to name a couple.
If general manager Mickey Loomis and his scouting team were going to conjure up similar late-round magic, this would be the year to do it; the Saints aren't slated to make their first pick until late in the third round, at 89th overall.
New Orleans has no 2012 first-round choice because that was traded last year, along with a 2011 second-round pick, to New England so the Saints could draft running back Mark Ingram.
Loomis is going to oversee this draft amid investigations by the NFL and by law enforcement.
The probe into New Orleans' bounty system that led to a season-long suspension for head coach Sean Payton and an eight-game suspension for Loomis also cost the Saints second-round picks this year and next, although it is possible the NFL will change next year's lost pick to a later round.
Loomis also finds himself at the center of a wire-tapping investigation in which he
allegedly had the ability to listen to opposing coaches' radio communications during games at the Superdome. Loomis and the team have denied allegations, but the Louisiana State Police announced Tuesday that they look into the situation.
While Loomis remains confident in the Saints' ability to find late-round steals in this year's draft, he stopped short of minimizing the harm that the loss of a second-round pick could do.
"It can be very damaging," Loomis said, rattling off examples of past second-rounders who became key Saints. "It could mean the loss of (strong safety) Roman Harper, or of (recently retired former Pro Bowl right tackle) Jon Stinchcomb, or the ability to acquire Mark Ingram."
Saints hope to find gems late in draft | The Advertiser | theadvertiser.com
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