METAIRIE, La. -- The 2017 NFL draft is finally at hand, kicking off Thursday in Philadelphia. When it comes to the Who Dat nation, all eyes are on Sean Payton.
WGNO's Meghan Kluth sat down with the head coach one-on-one to get a glimpse of what's going through his mind heading in to the draft.
Here's some of what he had to say. Check back Tuesday for part two.
Meghan Kluth: I know you can't give away too much, but local guy Leonard Fournette is going first round this year, and the Saints haven't had a first round draft pick who was local, ever. Does that add pressure to you?
Sean Payton: I think when you start with Leonard Fournette, and that's a great one to start with, you know he not only is LSU, but he's St. Aug, he's New Orleans. He checks all the boxes, he's a very talented player. There's a warm smile to him, he learns well, he's respected by all his teammates. You know we pick at 11, but I wouldn't anticipate a player like him arriving at that spot. I think there's a certain pride for a player like that, you know stays home, it's certainly going to be more expensive because he's gonna buy more tickets.
MK: Pass rusher seems to be the name of the game, and there's a lot of hype around that position. Is that something you're looking in to for the draft?
SP: Absolutely. Pass rusher, those valued positions, pressure players, you know, the guys that can play left tackle, or tackle. Guys that can cover along with the quarterback position, those tend to be priced quicker and higher. So, if you graded a defensive end at the bottom of the first round, it wouldn't be surprising if that defensive end got taken maybe 10 or 15 picks prior to your grade.
MK: Malcolm Butler recently signed his tender, I know he visited you a month ago. Where does that stand now?
SP: He signed the tender. We can have discussion with the Patriots. We'll see. It's always challenging to then begin to try to assign a value, and you know hopefully if that works out that would address a need, and yet this is a draft that's deep at corner. If it doesn't, it's because we want to hold on to a certain number of our draft picks and go ahead and select from this draft class.