The Saints have been contemplating making big moves at cornerback all offseason.
They almost did again Thursday night, but didn’t even have to, as the defensive upgrade they needed came passively.
Via Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Saints coach Sean Payton said they discussed trading up, but sat tight through a run of skill-position talent and saw cornerback Marshon Lattimore fall into their laps with the 11th pick in the draft.
“Just through a lot of the different scenarios, he was one of the players that we felt would be difficult maybe to anticipate him being there, but things happen,” Payton said.
Really, once Lattimore cleared the sixth pick (when the Jets took LSU safety Jamal Adams) they were fine, as the next four teams in the order were locked in on running backs (Christian McCaffrey to the Panthers), wide receivers (Mike Williams to the Chargers and John Ross to the Bengals), and a quarterback (Patrick Mahomes to the Chiefs).
That was certainly OK with Payton, as he didn’t have to give up any more draft capital to get the guy they had a top-four grade on.
Their stroke of good fortune may also save them a pile of money, as having Lattimore fall unexpectedly might make them reconsider previous offers for Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who visited the Saints before re-signing his RFA tender with New England. They could still trade for him, and could still make a case for it since neither Lattimore nor cornerback Delvin Breaux have been what you’d call durable players.
But they entered the offseason looking for a big-ticket answer at the position, and now have one.