Saints coach Sean Payton said after the Saints used both this year’s first-round draft pick and next year’s first-round draft pick to trade up and draft Davenport that pass rusher is a position, along with quarterback, left tackle and cornerback, that is so important in today’s NFL that it’s worth paying a heavy price to go up and get one.
“One of the offseason targets was a pressure player and that might come as a guy who lines up inside, it might come from a player that lines up outside,” Payton said. “But before we check that box we have to feel like he can affect the quarterback and in our league, there’s a premium on a few different positions, one of them is that, one of them is a corner. We saw the quarterbacks and the tackles. We can’t find those guys when the season is over with and we start free agency. They’re generally players you have to draft.”
Payton indicated that the Saints were trying to trade up even higher in the draft but other teams turned them down. Eventually the Packers agreed to send the 14th pick to the Saints for the 27th pick, next year’s first-round pick and also a fifth-round pick this year.
“There were just other teams on the phone. We were close with one other team,” Payton said. “A player fell for them. Oftentimes it will be just wait to see if our player is there. It is pretty normal. So without going into [who] all the other teams are, it’s not unusual.”
It actually is unusual for a team to give up two first-round picks to trade up to draft a defensive player: It hasn’t happened in 15 years. But the Saints view Davenport as no ordinary defensive player. He can get to the other team’s quarterback, which the Saints think will make him an impact player.