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all in to try to snag a potential difference maker near the top of the draft.As for their other six picks, time will tell.In the days leading up to the draft, Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis were convinced the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Davenport was worth trading up to take in the middle of the first round. So they did that and had to Marcus Williams Color Rush Jersey give up next year’s first-rounder as part of the deal.”This is the philosophy regardless of position: If there’s somebody we really covet and we have an opportunity to move up, then we’re just going to analyze the cost and the risk. And if we like it, we’re going to make a move,” Loomis said.With their other picks on Friday night and Saturday, the Saints selected Central Florida receiver Tre’Quan Smith in the third round; Florida State offensive tackle Rick Leonard in the fourth round; Wisconsin safety Natrell Jamerson in the fifth; Boston College cornerback Kamrin Moore and Louisiana Tech running back Boston Scott in the sixth; and LSU interior offensive lineman Will Clapp in the seventh round.The cost of drafting Davenport 14th overall arguably was a little high. In addition to next year’s first-round pick, the Saints gave Green Bay the 27th and 147th overall picks this year.Payton and Loomis saw that as fair. After all, the Saints enter 2018 looking like a contender. They hope playing Davenport opposite All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan increases chances of winning enough to push their traded-away 2019 top pick toward the end of the first round.”He clearly, for us, was a guy that we felt strongly enough about,” Payton said.The Saints ranked 17th defensively last season – considerably better than the previous three seasons, but with room to improve. New Orleans’ offense, by comparison, ranked second in 2017.Payton and Loomis say elite pass rushers can be tough to find in free agency and often have to be obtained in the draft.”Pressure traits are hard to come by,” Loomis said. ”When you have them, you protect them and you generally don’t let them out of the building.”That’s what the Saints have done with Jordan. They’re hoping Davenport becomes a similar type of player.CONFERENCE QUESTIONSDavenport was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year for UTSA last season after making 8sacks and 17tackles for loss. He also had eight quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and four batted passes. While Davenport’s level of competition in college was not as strong as prospects coming out of the Southeastern Conference, UTSA coach Frank Wilson, a former lead recruiter at LSU, said Davenport ”is as talented as any of those guys. His work ethic is as good as any of those guys.”DEPTH PERCEPTIONLast season, the Saints drafted five players who filled starting roles, and two – Marshon Lattimore and Alvin Kamara – who were voted rookies of the year. This season, Davenport might be the only prospective starter. Smith could play regularly on offense, but will have to compete for snaps with several accomplished veterans. Jamerson and Moore join a defensive backfield full of returning regulars. Leonard and Clapp likely will back up incumbent starters, as will Scott.SWITCHING SIDESTwo of the Saints’ third-day draft choices switched sides of the ball during their college careers. The 5-11 https://www.thesaintsfanshop.com/Manti-Te_O-Jersey , 198-pound Jamerson switched from receiver to defensive back as a sophomore. The 6-7, 305-pound Leonard played defensive end two seasons before beating out an incumbent starter at offensive tackle as a junior.”I’m comfortable with where they’re at from an experience standpoint,” Payton said. ”You see that a lot in college.”HOME COOKINGNot only was Clapp the first LSU player selected by the Saints since linebacker Al Woods in 2010, he grew up in the New Orleans area and routinely attended Saints games with his family.Meanwhile, Scott is from Zachary, just north of Baton Rouge, and described his mother as an avid Saints fan.MUSICAL SAINTSAt least two of the Saints’ third-day draftees should fit in nicely in a music city like New Orleans. Leonard is an avid guitar player. Scott grew up playing trombone and has been in a band.STILL NEEDEntering the draft, Payton cited linebacker and tight end as positions of need. But no players at either position were drafted by New Orleans.— BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield has assorted shiny trophies, plaques and awards from his college days. Probably more than he realizes.So far, his biggest NFL honor can’t be hung or placed on a shelf.Mayfield was humbled by compliments made toward him by Saints star quarterback Drew Brees, who believes the Browns rookie is destined for fame.On Wednesday, Brees gushed when talking about Mayfield.“I think he can be a lot better than me,” Brees said. “He’s got all the tools. He’s more athletic. He probably can run around better. He’s got a stronger arm.”Mayfield was moved by the praise.“Yeah, it doesn’t get much higher than that,” Mayfield said following practice. “That’s one of the greatest to play of all time. That’s the guy that I’ve had an unbelievable amount of respect for and looked up to just because of where I’m from first and then size and story as well. So I’ve always enjoyed watching him.”Mayfield hopes to meet Brees for the first time Sunday as the Browns (0-0-1) visit the Saints (0-1), who lost their home opener 48-40 to Tampa Bay last week.For now, Mayfield is Cleveland’s No. 2 quarterback, waiting his turn behind starter Tyrod Taylor. The Heisman Trophy winner grew up in Texas patterning his game after Brees, who entered the league with far less fanfare and minimal expectations following a storied career at Purdue.The knock on Brees coming out of college was that he was too short to succeed in the pro game. He’d be swallowed in the pocket and there was no way he’d be able to see receivers, never mind complete passes.Well, all Brees has done on the way to numerous Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl title, is become one of just three quarterbacks to surpass 70,000 yards passing.The Hall of Fame awaits.And while Mayfield appreciated Brees’ comments, they’ll only be words if he doesn’t produce.“It’s really cool. It’s humbling, but unless I go to work every day, then it’s not going to matter,” he said. “Expectations are one thing Ken Crawley Jersey , but you’ve got to do your own. Got to do your own.”Brees’ remarks also caught the attention of Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry.“You’re talking about, especially me being from Louisiana, Drew’s a G.O.A.T.,” Landry said. “He’s the guy. For him to say that, that’s one of the highest praises you can get from one of the guys that is tremendously respected around the league and around the world. So that’s huge.”Of course, Mayfield can’t do much about building a legacy on the sideline.The Browns are taking a slow-is-better approach with Mayfield, whom they believe is their QB of the future — not the present.Barring an injury, Mayfield won’t play this week against the Saints. And unless something changes dramatically soon, the Browns intend to have Mayfield sharpen his skills during practice until they feel he’s ready to start.That’s been the plan since March, when Cleveland traded for Taylor, who led Buffalo to the playoffs last season.Browns coach Hue Jackson said he won’t be swayed to change direction by the early success the New York Jets have had with Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick. Darnold shook off throwing an interception that was returned for a TD on his first attempt and completed 16 of 21 passes for 192 yards and two TDs in a rout of Detroit on Monday night.“I like our young quarterback a lot, but it didn’t change my mind on anything,” Jackson said. “Baker’s been really good in practice. I think he’s still growing. The thing I love, he’s so engaged in what we’re doing. That is a fist bump to him because I’m sure it’s tough.“I’m sure he wants to play. Any competitor wants to. At the same time, I think he’s ready. He’s preparing himself week in and week out on what it takes to play. And when his day comes, he’s going to go out there and play well. I keep saying that. Do not know when it is, but when it does happen, he will play well.”Taylor’s 15 of 40 performance last week against Pittsburgh sparked some debate as to whether the Browns were handling their QB situation — and Mayfield — correctly.“The most important thing is that he’s our future,” Jackson said. “If he is, we don’t have to rush this thing. When everybody saw the numbers last week, everybody wanted to go, ‘OK, Tyrod is out. Let’s go the other way.’ Let’s slow down a little bit here. Let’s get this thing going. Week 1, here we go to Week 2. Let’s see if we can improve on offense and play better.”

06-11-2018 01:42
   
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