Saints coach Sean Payton recently peeled the curtain back with his thoughts on the 2018 quarterback class. On Monday, he gave a candid assessment of last year’s quarterback class.
Payton told Dan Patrick that, if cornerback Marshon Lattimore had been taken at pick No. 10, the Saints would have taken quarterback Patrick Mahomes at pick No. 11. The eyebrow-raising aspect of that comment comes from the fact that, at No. 11, the Saints could have had quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Payton also explained that, if both Mahomes and Lattimore had both been on the board, Payton and the Saints would have still taken Lattimore. (Some would say Payton has no choice but to say that.) So maybe if Lattimore and Mahomes had been taken, the pick would have been Watson.
Regardless, Payton’s comments show that: (1) the Saints were thinking about drafting a Drew Brees replacement in 2017; (2) the Saints would have taken Mahomes if he’d been on the board (and Lattimore hadn’t); and (3) the Saints regarded Mahomes as better than Watson.
We’ve seen what Watson can do. And we now know that two of the best quarterback coaches in the league — Payton and Chiefs coach Andy Reid — preferred Mahomes to Watson. Which suggests that maybe Mahomes will be the real deal.
Payton made another interesting observation during his spot with DP; Payton said that up to 20 teams would re-do their first-round pick from last year, that a few don’t know yet, and that roughly eight would do it all over again.
That’s an important reality to keep in mind as the first round of the 2018 draft approaches. Especially if any of the top quarterbacks are still on the board when the Saints are on the clock.