There is no tanking in the NFL. Unless there is. . . .
Saints coach Sean Payton hasn’t forgotten the 2014 regular-season finale when the Buccaneers blew a 20-7 fourth-quarter lead after pulling many starters at halftime and most by the start of the fourth quarter. The Saints won 23-20, allowing Tampa Bay to secure the No. 1 overall pick.
The Buccaneers used the first choice on Jameis Winston, who recently signed with the Saints as a free agent after five seasons in Tampa.
“I’m excited to work with him. I know our coaching staff is,” Payton said on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore. “When you go through this process, sometimes and you’re looking at the draft, for instance, and you’re spending a lot of time on each position of the draft, and then you say, ‘Well, throw Winston into this draft,’ because we all can remember him coming out. I was there at his pro day. I sat right literally 5 yards behind him as he threw 80-something, 90-something passes. How would he grade? I think he’d fare extremely well in this class, in a number of classes, enough to where someone thought that much of him where they selected him the first pick of the draft. Heck, they lost the game on purpose to us at the end of the season prior with Lovie Smith. They forced Lovie to take his starters out of the game, so they could get the one spot to draft Jameis.”
Winston, 26, threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions last season.
“We’re excited to work with him,” Payton said of Winston. “He’s a young player. He’s 26 years old, I believe, and I know he’s got great work ethic, and I know he’s competitive. So we’ll see how that unfolds, but we’re excited that he’s joined our team, and that he’s going to help be a part of what we’re trying to accomplish.”