Sean Payton: New Orlenans Saints beat Carolina Panthers for QB in NFL draft


The New Orleans Saints made a rare move in the NFL draft last week, swapping their sixth round pick in 2021 for a seventh round selection.

Saints head coach Sean Payton revealed to Athletic that the Saints made the decision to land quarterback Tommy Stevens, who was to sign with NFC rival South Carolina Panthers as an agent free not drafted.

Stevens, who had 381 rushing yards last season in Mississippi, made comparisons to the Saints’ flexible quarterback / player Taysom Hill.

“There was no way I was going to lose this child,” said Payton of Stevens. “We know the role. We invented the role. “

The Saints had been without a choice on day 3 of the repechage after going to the third round to select the close end Adam Trautman. The team tried to reach an agreement with Stevens in the condition that it was not drafted, but discovered that it already had a pact with the Panthers that it intended to honor.

New Orleans then reached an agreement to acquire the 240th draft pick – 15 picks from the last – from the Houston Texans in the Stevens draft.

“I said,” Honestly, I was having fun, “said Payton. “‘ You had given your word and I respect that. But we weren’t going to lose you. You were going to become a Saint. ‘ “

The Saints’ head coach said after the draft he expects Stevens to see snapshots of tight ends and special teams as he develops as a quarterback.


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