Sean Payton: Defense is a “Priority,” but Best Player Available Could Factor in on Draft Night

April 19, 2013 – 8:30 am by Brad Gagnon

The Saints weren’t themselves with Sean Payton serving a season-long suspension in 2012, but the defense was particularly terrible. Naturally, everyone expects Payton and Co. to select a defensive player with the No. 15 overall pick in this year’s draft, but Payton says that there are times when the best player on the board is just too hard to ignore.

Sean Payton joined Bobby and Deke on WWL in New Orleans to discuss his philosophy regarding need vs. best player available in the draft, his approach to getting the team back up to speed after serving a season-long suspension, the presence of Seneca Wallace on the quarterback depth chart and the competition for the open left-tackle spot after Jermon Bushrod’s departure.

On defense being a focus but the constant need to consider the best player available in the draft:

“Certainly we’re looking closely at our defense, and that would be a priority. I would say this: When you start getting into that selection and you see magnets both offensively and defensively that are close to each other on the grade line, it’s easy then — if you feel real close about the players — to go with one side of the ball or the other. The challenge is when you see the magnet that sits up there much higher than the defensive player, for instance, and then are you just strictly trying to draft a need player as opposed to maybe the best available player. And I think the key is just, what’s the gap? And so when a player falls or you feel like you have a real high grade on a player, you have to pay attention to that.”

On getting back to work with his team after a year away:

“You’ve gotta be honest and candid. We talked briefly at the start of the [first] meeting about this past year. And we talked about all the distractions that took place during that year and then what we saw as a football team, offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. We talked about the progress we’re going to have to make to get back to [being a Super Bowl contender]. And I think the key is, every team is gonna operate within the framework of the new CBA and that’s easily understood and easy to do, yet the key to being successful and winning is all the details and creating that competition that’s necessary. I think when you have that competition, everyone in that position group plays better, and it’s important for us to create that in all the drills that we have.”

On Seneca Wallace not just being brought in to help the Saints prepare for mobile quarterbacks and Pistol-type offenses:

“We signed him to come in and compete to be our backup quarterback, so I don’t think his signing was a reflection of us really looking for the perfect scout-team quarterback to resemble a few of the teams that we’ll see during the year. I think finding that is something that we’ve been able to do. Oftentimes there might be a guy on your roster that played quarterback who’s now a receiver or defensive back. We’ve got a couple veteran quarterbacks in here in Luke [McCown] and Seneca that we think have an opportunity to come in and do a real good job of being prepared to play if they have to. Both of them have had starts in their careers. We’ll see where they’re at.”

On if he feels they have their next starting left tackle on the current roster:

“We’ll see. We signed Jason Smith recently, and Charles Brown’s a guy that is going to be competing over there. It’s gonna be an opportunity. There’s a great example of a job that’s wide open, and hopefully the guys that have a chance to compete for that position step up and someone separates himself. That kind of happened when Bushrod came into that position during our scrimmages against the Texans when we lost our starter. … Hopefully it’s an easy decision. Hopefully someone separates themselves.”

Listen to Sean Payton on WWL here

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  1. 17 Responses to “Sean Payton: Defense is a “Priority,” but Best Player Available Could Factor in on Draft Night”

  2. The saints need to draft best player available at 15. If that is WR than they draft WR and than they trade moore or colston for some defensive player that they wanted to fill through draft(pass rushing LB).

    By qwerty on Apr 20, 2013

  3. Sometimes we can let the media build our confidence into arrogance. I think a blind man can see the gapping holes on our defense. The Saints and whoever is making the draft decisions, I mean if we trying to get back to being a Championship Caliber team, better try to build a Championship Caliber Defense. Best player available got us Reggie Bush, who still hasn’t lived up to his college hype. Draft DEFENSE O’Great Offensive Minded Sean Payton. Haha lol Before your name becomes mud like Les Miles

    By no1jking on Apr 20, 2013

  4. @ qwerty, do you really feel that we should trade Colston or Moore if we happened to draft a WR @ 15? They are worth more to us than any other team. Normally we need to draft BPA, but this year we HAVE to draft a front 7 defender that can get after the QB.

    Who Dat!

    By Leadhub on Apr 20, 2013

  5. Doesnt anyone remember the defense under greg hitman idiot williams?its pretty much the same players we had out there! Turnovers n ints got us going w blitzes a plenty! The problems were: all bounty gate results, new idiot defense w idiot DC, n not so potent offense. Now we have a new blitzn defense w greg w on crack calln it n the brees/payton combo. Just wait n frickn see ya non believers…make me sick, dont call yourself a fan. And dont thro out def numbers at me, just told u the problems!!

    By Scott on Apr 21, 2013

  6. I see that the saints sitting at number 3 in the division how do they get a pick before us in the draft

    By Ed on Apr 22, 2013

  7. I mean the Carolina panthers get a pick before us

    By Ed on Apr 22, 2013

  8. Listen to the coach. He knows more ‘n all ya!

    By pickup2 on Apr 22, 2013

  9. It’s obvious to me that my Saints need help on Defense and I think a pass rusher is the way to go ( B.Mingo ) but if not available I say we go with a cornerback , or defensive tackle , but doing this and hoping a left tackle steps up on the roster or draft one this draft is big man heavy so Les Geaux!

    By Joseph on Apr 22, 2013

  10. I’m hearing rumors about trading M Colston if the Saints draft pick is a WR I think this would be a mistake Colston is a top teir WR if anything trade C Ivory we don’t play him enough anyway his talent is being wasted being 4th on the depth chart he can at least fetch an 3rd draft pick or S Ellis could be traded for a 4th round pick we have options we can weigh for a positive result for all involved what do you think?

    By J Francis on Apr 22, 2013

  11. New Orleans need’s to draft a pass rusher but, more importantly a left tackle S Payton will get it right he will pick best available player and make moves after that because I think the Jets will try to get Mingo first
    Teas has a good LB out their as well I think the top 4 tackles will be gone by the 15th pick wher the Saibts pick

    By Joseph Francis on Apr 22, 2013

  12. well jfrancis no we dont have opions cuz u must not by reading to much cuz u said we can trade sellis but hes not on own roster hes a free agent so how can we trade him

    By nolaboyforlife on Apr 22, 2013

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