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News » Loomis implies Saints' options open for draft


Loomis implies Saints' options open for draft


Loomis implies Saints' options open for draft
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis smiled throughout his 30-minute media briefing Wednesday and even cracked a few jokes, but he made it clear that the mandatory session was about as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist.


"I don't know what the other teams are thinking, and I hope they don't know what we're thinking," said Loomis, who gave a quick response when asked how many teams put out bad information heading into the NFL draft: "Thirty-two. Including yours truly."

He then backtracked a little bit, saying: "We don't go out there and knowingly spread bad information. That's not a tactic that I'm comfortable with, but I'd prefer more to keep quiet, to be honest with you.

"In fact, even this press conference, if it wasn't mandated, I wouldn't do it. It's just difficult, because obviously we want to keep this stuff close to the vest. When the questions start getting a little more specific and people can start reading into what we might want to do, that's when I want to try to draw the line."

Loomis did offer some tidbits of insight on the Saints' draft process, but nothing that would indicate what the team might do in Round 1 with the 14th pick Saturday.

At different points, he suggested the Saints would be open to trading down, they'd feel comfortable staying put, and they'd be willing to consider offensive and defensive players.

"I think at any position, including running back, if we feel like there's a player that can help our team more than any other player we're looking at, we're going to consider that," Loomis said, when asked about the tailback position. "It happened pretty clearly when Deuce (McAllister) was drafted and Ricky Williams was on our team. It happened when Will Smith was drafted (when the Saints were deep at defensive end).

"The good news is that there are a number of players that we feel can help us at a number of positions. So if we pick at 14, I know we're going to get a good player there."

The Saints have four picks in this year's draft because of trades they made for tight end Jeremy Shockey, linebacker Jonathan Vilma and receiver Adrian Arrington last year. They have a first-round pick, two fourth-rounders and a seventh-rounder.

That means the Saints will be receptive to trading down to acquire more picks, but Loomis suggested New Orleans also would be comfortable staying put after addressing the most pressing needs in free agency.

"In a perfect world, we'd have our first three picks as well as the players that we acquired, but we made those decisions last year -- and we're happy with those," Loomis said. "Look, our second-, third- and fifth-round draft picks are Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma, and we're happy to have those guys here."

Loomis said trade talk has started to heat up between teams trying to get a feel for who's willing to move up and down, but it's still more about "information gathering" at this point.

"I think everybody's willing to move," he said.

Loomis did get specific when asked if the Saints are more likely to trade a current player for a pick because they have such little ammo to work with.

"We haven't had any discussion about trading any specific players," he said.

Among other topics Loomis touched upon Wednesday:

-- He said receiver Lance Moore had successful shoulder surgery and returned to the team's practice facility this week.

He said Moore is expected to be healed in time for the regular season, but he doesn't know how far along Moore will be by the start of training camp.

Loomis said tailback Reggie Bush and receiver Marques Colston are doing well in recovering from knee surgery. He didn't specify a timetable, but the hope is that they'll be on the practice field at some point during the OTAs and minicamp. And, he said Shockey is fully healed from last year's sports hernia, and that Shockey is "anxious to have a great season."

-- He said the team looked closely at any changes it could make after the rash of injuries that plagued the team during the 2008 season, but he said there was nothing prominent that stood out and no real common injuries.

He said the Saints have tweaked some of the offseason conditioning program, with more emphasis on running. He also said moving training camp back home to Metairie is expected to help, with some of the practices being moved indoors.

-- Loomis said teams take it seriously when players test positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine, and in the past the Saints have removed such players from their draft board.

He said the main concern is that players know they're going to be tested, so it's an indication of a serious problem and not just a "one-time thing."

-- He gave kudos to college scouting director Rick Reiprish and his staff.

Even though Loomis becomes the voice of the team this time of year, he said this weekend is "their Super Bowl."

. . . . . . .

Mike Triplett can be reached at mtriplett@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3405.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 23, 2009

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