Watch the interview here.
WVUE-TV FOX 8 Sports Director Fred Hickman will interview Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis on Wednesday’s 10 p.m. newscast.
Below are some highlights from Payton’s interview:
On the NFL Scouting Combine: “I think it went really well. Like every year, there is an influx of juniors that we get caught up on. It’s the first time for us as coaches to really see all of these players in an interview setting. The medical aspect is an important part of the process and the on-field workouts. It’s a step in their final grade. What’s most important is the production we see on tape but this gives us a chance to really meet the players and put a name with a face.”
On the Saints’ priorities for this year’s NFL Draft: “There’s always that concept of need vs. best player available. I think we will try to clump players in that first round where we are at and where we think a group of players will fall. There are a handful of areas we need to improve on. Without getting into detail specifically, some of it might be a result of free agency. We have some players on our current roster that we have to find out about and so (draft priorities) can change based on some free agency you have on your own roster. Defense is going to be an area we look closely at. You always want to pay attention to the linemen in each class. I think we have done a pretty good job over the years of drafting offensive linemen, guys from big and small schools, that have come in and filled a role. We still have a lot of time here and a lot of homework to do prior to the draft.”
On if he spoke to Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones or Head Coach Jason Garrett about hiring Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan: “I have spoken to a number of people, not specifically Jerry, but Jason a little bit. I am excited about working with him. I know he is a guy that loves football. I think he comes from a really good background of the different places he has been. He has won a lot of football at New England with coach (Bill) Belichick. He is passionate about the game and we are excited to have him.”
On how ready he believes the Saints are to compete in 2013: “It’s hard in the early spring to make any type of predictions. We are in a race to improve like everyone else is. It starts with the acquisition of good football players via free agency or in the draft. Then it’s getting on the field in our OTAs (Organized Team Activities), mini-camps and eventually training camp. We have a lot of work to do and the good news is that we have time here to make sure that we make some important decisions and the right decisions as we put this team together and get ready to compete in 2013.”
On if he feels caught up after missing last season: “I don’t know that you ever feel like you are caught up. We have been able to get our coaching staff in place. That was an important part of the process. Now it’s paying attention to improving your roster. I think the last three weeks have been beneficial to us. We have taken our time with the hires and made sure we weren’t hurrying to fill any of these positions. We went through a lot of interviews and it has worked out well. I think that was the first order of business. Our own roster and how we evaluate it is equally as important as players that aren’t currently in the building.”
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