Metairie, La. -- The day started earlier than expected for the Saints, who opened-up the 4th round by trading-up with the Jets from 14 to 3, to get Chauncey Gardner-Johnson 105th overall. Gardner-Johnson is a safety out of Florida, who's ready to get going with the Saints defensive backfield.
"The whole defensive back unit hit me up," Gardner-Johnson said. "They already know it's going to be a lot of problems with us in the backfield. Everybody's going to be afraid of us once we get clicking."
When he FaceTimed with the New Orleans media after he was selected, he spoke about the moment he found-out he was drafted by the Saints:
"It's been a long day-- actually a long weekend," Gardner-Johnson. "I didn't think I was going to get the call but now I got the call and I've just got to put my head down and work. I appreciate Coach Payton, Coach [Aaron Glenn], and [Dan Campbell] for putting firm belief in me and being the first defensive selection. I'm ready to go in there and compete and just work."
After the draft was over, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the draft as a whole-- particularly trading-up to get their guys.
"It's calculated," Loomis said. "When you have the opportunity to go get somebody, go get a player that you covet, you go get them. That's been a successful formula for us."
In that trade to get Gardner-Johnson, the Saints also gave-up their 5th round selection, so their next pick came in the 6th round, when they went with another safety, Saquan Hampton out of Rutgers 177th overall.
"[My family] reacted wild," Hampton said. "It was a blessing just to have the opportunity to be a New Orlean Saint... I know it's a team that has great class and is a great organization and I'm ready to come in and work hard each and every day."
Loomis also addressed picking two safeties and how they may have multiple roles on the team.
"I think there's some versatility there with Chauncey playing nickel and we'll see how it all shakes out. But obviously that's a position where those guys can be core special teams players as well."
The Saints rounded-out their 2019 draft class with tight end Alize Mack out of Notre Dame and linebacker Kaden Elliss out of Idaho as their two 7th round selections.
"Just to be able to be apart of this organization," Mack said. "I'm at a loss of words right now. It still hasn't even hit me yet."