Each Saints pick analyzed: Bold trade up for pass rusher Davenport

Coach Payton: "I think that you're trying to find guys that can make the roster, that bring something to the table"

The New Orleans Saints were determined to add a "pressure player" on the outside of their defense and they weren't going to let the absence of the right fit in free agency or a low first-round pick get in their way.

They decided going into the draft that Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport could bolster an area that head coach Sean Payton called "a must position." They figured he would be available at a point in the first round where the cost of trading up would be acceptable.

So they made a deal with Green Bay, surrendering their No. 27 first-round pick, their No. 1 next year and the first of their No. 5s this year (No. 147 overall) to get the Packers' pick at No. 14 and they took Davenport.

"I think pressure traits are hard to come by," general manager Mickey Loomis said. "If there's somebody we really covet and we have an opportunity to move up, then we're just going to going to analyze the cost and the risk and if we like it we're going to make a move and that's what we did."

Payton said the Saints had targeted Davenport well before draft day.

"Within the last week, two weeks, this was just a player (who impressed us)," Payton said. "There was a strong conviction that this might be in a target range for us, realistically to get into this round earlier."

After addressing their primary need with the trade and first-round pick, the Saints became less position conscious. They didn't have a second-round pick because of the trade to get into position to draft running back Alvin Kamara in the third round last year.

When they finally got a chance to select again in the third round, they went with the highest-rated player on their board - Central Florida wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith. They had signed Bears free-agent wide receiver Cameron Meredith, but he's coming off a serious knee injury and the Saints chose not to match the offer that restricted free agent Willie Snead IV signed with Baltimore.

With third-day picks, New Orleans addressed offensive line (twice), defensive back (twice) and running back (once).

That leaves tight end and linebacker as two areas they will be looking to address in the latter stages of free agency.

"I think that you're trying to find guys that can make the roster, that bring something to the table," Payton said of the later-round picks.


A closer look at the Saints' picks:

Round 1/14 -- Marcus Davenport, DE, 6-6, 265, Texas-San Antonio

The Saints decided a week or so before the draft that Davenport was the guy they wanted and they knew he wouldn't last until their pick at No. 27, so they paid the price it took to get into position to take him. Head coach Sean Payton repeatedly referred to him as "a prototype" defensive end. The Saints were impressed with how he handled the step-up in competition at the Senior Bowl and they see him as smart and coachable.

Round 3/91 -- Tre'Quan Smith, WR, 6-1, 210, Central Florida

The Saints will decide if he's a wideout or a slot guy once they get him on the field. The team found his ability to grab 50-50 balls and to block attractive. He was primarily a basketball player as a youngster and his first full season of football didn't come until his junior year in high school. He is a big-play receiver, having averaged 19.8 yards per catch as a junior last season.

Round 4/127 -- Rick Leonard, T, 6-7, 305, Florida State

Leonard is unusually athletic for a tackle, having played defensive line during his first two seasons in college. He also played tight end in high school. He has played right tackle, which was the position Zach Strief played for New Orleans before retiring in the offseason and leaving a need for depth there. He didn't run at the Combine because of a quad strain, which he says is fully healed.

Round 5/164 -- Natrell Jamerson, CB, 5-11, 198, Wisconsin

Jamerson is a versatile player who began his career as a wide receiver before moving to cornerback, then safety. The Saints will look at him at cornerback first, but they need depth in both areas. He averaged 20.6 yards on 38 kickoff returns as a Badger and also played on coverage units.

Round 6/189 -- Kamrin Moore, DB, 5-11, 200, Boston College

The Saints didn't have to think too long about picking Moore in the sixth round because they had considered picking him in the fifth round before settling on Jamerson. Moore was a versatile special-teams player in college. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Game 10 of his senior season, had surgery and said he's fully recovered. He suffered a season-ending fractured tibia in the eighth game of his sophomore season.

Round 6/201 -- Boston Scott, RB, 5-6, 203, Louisiana Tech

Scott also is a kick returner. Despite his diminutive size, he won a state championship in powerlifting in high school and has excelled at breaking tackles. He's an elusive runner who averaged 5.7 yards per carry as a senior.

Round 7/245 -- Will Clapp, C/G, 6-5, 314, Louisiana State

Clapp is an experienced versatile player even though he skipped his senior season. He played center and both guard positions, blocking for three 1,000-yard rushers.


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