NEW ORLEANS -- In 2017, Sean Payton did something that no other coach has done since Joe Schmidt in 1967 with the Lions. He selected a defensive player and offensive player that together swept the NFL Rookie of the Year awards.
"The process of drafting was of course different then, and there are a ton of different variables that helped lead to successful seasons for our rookies, but we're proud of Kamara and Lattimore," Sean Payton told WGNO's Meghan Kluth.
The Saints ended the 2017 season 11-5 in the regular season, and 1-1 in playoffs but ultimately lost to the Vikings. Coach Payton said that this season will be one for continued growth.
"I think overall, the class came in and was impressive, and there's a taste in all of our mouths where we want to improve on last season," said Payton. "The nucleus of our team and the life blood of our program happens at the draft. It doesn't happen in free agency, and there's opportunity in free agency and there's opportunities via trade, but the talent you get to select at the draft to is so important."
Last year the Saints had two selections in the first round, picking at number 11 and number 32. This year they will pick at 27. Payton has said he's not in love with the quarterback selections this year.
"The rule of thumb is that if you're seven picks away you need to have seven names, but if you have a real strong conviction on a certain player then find a way to get him," Payton said.
The 2018 NFL draft takes place April 26-28th in Arlington, Texas.