Critical component: Payton says offseason is important to get Saints back to where they want to be

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 14: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of the NFC Divisional Playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 14, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS — The Saints couldn’t have drafted much better in 2017. Now, all they have to do is do it again.

The 2017 draft yielded the likely rookies of the year on offense (Alvin Kamara), and defense (Marshon Lattimore). Head coach Sean Payton said the Saints improving on defense is a top priority heading into the offseason.

He made the comments at his end of the season news conference Tuesday, one that lasted all of nine minutes.

The Saints also added some key pieces in unrestricted free agency, including defensive end Alex Okafor, and linebackers AJ Klein and Manti Te'o.

In 2017, the Saints improved from 27th to 17th in total defense.