Is Pete Werner the Saints’ Next Ohio State Success? | Saints Draft Series Part 2

We’ve all heard the line how the New Orleans Saints must have a satellite office at Ohio State. Linebacker Pete Werner is the fourth Buckeye New Orleans has drafted since 2016.

What skills and personality does the Saints’ second-round pick bring to the table?

Host Rachel Jones asked Pete Werner’s high school coach, Rick Streiff. He said Werner’s ability to run and move, along with his intelligence & football savvy, will make him an excellent addition.  In other words, he’s got the “it” factor.

Tune in MONDAY for Part 3 of the Saints draft series – all about Saints third-round pick Paulson Adebo with Stanford/Pac-12 reporter Troy Clardy!

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (6:05) “He’s a young man who always kept his nose to the grindstone.”

  • (7:15) “Really quiet, fly-under-the-radar kind of guy – you have to kind of pull teeth sometimes to get words of out him. But once on the field, he just plays so hard.”

  • (9:23) “He’s seen it all, between his high school experience and then obviously at Ohio State, they play the best of the best.”

  • (10:38) “He even played a little bit of cornerback for us in high school when we played some heavy run teams, we would put him on the tight end side into the boundary, and it was a thing of beauty.”

  • (11:33) “If you go back and watch the Ohio State films, they played him all over the place and it was because of those two things – his ability to run and his ability to grasp the scheme and understand what his responsibilities are.”
  • (15:37) “I watched Sean Payton sling it around as a high schooler … talk about a guy that had football savvy.”
  • (17:35) Random Round

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Saints Draft Pick Series Part 1 – Payton Turner

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Doubt Payton Turner At Your Own Risk | Saints Draft Series Part 1

We kick off our series on the New Orleans Saints’ 2021 draft picks spotlighting former Houston DE Payton Turner. 

Cougars radio broadcaster Jeremy Branham (UH Learfield IMG) explains how he’s shined under different coaching staffs and schemes at Houston, why being a multi-sport athlete is so valuable for the first-round pick, why Turner’s best football remains in front of him, and much more.

Branham has a unique viewpoint covering the Cougars from the sidelines – you’ll hear in the Random Round his most memorable moment covering Turner, the one skill he needs to improve most, and Branham’s message for the rookie as he arrives in New Orleans.

A new episode is coming FRIDAY featuring Saints second-round pick Pete Werner’s high school coach Rick Streiff from Cathedral in Indianapolis!

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (4:45) “His stock was roaring up before the start of the draft. When the season ended, was probably considered a 3rd or 4th rounder, and then when people started to watch more film on him and look at all his pro day stuff was when his stock really started climbing.”

  • (7:36) “It wasn’t a matter of can he play in the league or would he go in the first, to me it was just find him a good landing spot where the coaches will put him in a spot to excel and succeed. And now that he is a first-rounder, really the Saints have no choice right, because you have to protect your investment. He’s a kid that deserves everything he gets. I’m really excited for Payton Turner.” 

  • (8:46) “That’s the biggest intangible – how much he really enjoys playing.”

  • (12:20) “Not only is he big, but he covers a lot of ground left arm to right arm. But he also has a burst of quickness that allows him to get into the backfield.”

  • (14:33) “The first two years of Payton Turner’s career he was in a 3-4, and then when Dana Holgorsen came in he kinda changed it to a 4-2-5. It was a 4-3 base, but they ran a lot of 4-2-5 out of it, and he excelled with that defense.”
  • (15:40) “I think he’s going to be more of an edge guy with the ability to move in on pass rushing situations.”
  • (17:10) “That’s one thing I would add about Payton Turner – his best football is far from him.”
  • (19:10) Random Round

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Unpacking New Orleans Saints’ 2021 Draft with Mike Detillier

The New Orleans Saints selected DE Payton Turner, LB Pete Werner, CB Paulson Adebo, QB Ian Book, OT Landon Young and WR Kawaan Baker in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Analyst Mike Detillier joins host Rachel Jones to take you inside the Saints’ draft blueprint for intelligent and instinctive players on this week’s episode of Black and Gold Rush.

Detillier, an engineer by trade, discusses how each player’s skills will translate to the NFL and describes the process behind his annual draft report that he’s published for 36 years.

Stay tuned for upcoming episodes that will highlight each of the six newest Saints individually!

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (8:40) “Buddy Diliberto had the best line for me – ‘Don’t ever be afraid to be wrong, Mike.'”

  • (10:27) “I’m old enough now to have a little granddaughter, and she tells me, ‘Pop, you still working on that book?’ So you know you put some hours in when the little granddaughter tells you that. I would say out of 365 days a year, I work on it about 350.”

  • (11:46) “That’s the biggest misconception about the draft, that everybody has the same thoughts. All 32 teams have different thoughts.”

  • (13:01) on Payton Turner – “surprised me … why I dropped him was he was never dominant in that conference, and secondly is the most important thing, injuries. They may kick him inside to defensive tackle. I just hope he can stay healthy.”

  • (17:37) on Ian Book “mental makeup, toughness … (Sean Payton) being a quarterback understands about a guy being tough, being a leader, and being a winner … he’s gonna come up with a package to get Ian Book involved.”
  • (24:10) on Pete Werner “He’s good against the run, he’s good in pass coverage, he runs the field well, he’s a good open field tackler, and he makes it up with the intangibles. He understands this game at another level … in year 2, he’ll probably be a starter for this football team.”
  • (27:06) on Paulson Adebo “He’s got the best shot of all the rookies to see what I would call significant playing time because the Saints are paper thin at cornerback … He needs a little bit of work technically, but when the ball is in the air, he thinks it’s his.”
  • (30:32) on Landon Young “Landon was probably one of the top 3 tackle prospects in the country when he came out of [high school] … They don’t throw the ball much at Kentucky, so you know right off the bat what he’s gonna have to work on – pass blocking. I don’t think he’s an inside player.”
  • (33:42) on Kawaan Baker “He has a tendency to catch the ball up against his body. I don’t think he gets picked without that pro day. I think his pro day got him picked.”
  • (36:30) Random Round

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2021 New Orleans Saints Draft Special with Maddy Hudak [Podcast]

NFL Draft Weekend is officially here, and if you’re like me, it feels like Christmas.

Don’t miss a special New Orleans Saints Draft episode of Black and Gold Rush. Host Rachel Jones and The Saints Wire’s Maddy Hudak take one more look at the Saints’ top positions of need on offense and defense and analyze the increasing possibility of the Saints trading up from No. 28.

After all, they have eight draft picks to work with. What kind of players are the Saints looking for in 2021?

Maddy Hudak is originally from San Mateo, CA, but her mom is from New Orleans, and Maddy remembers first seeing the magic of the Saints when they came to volunteer after Hurricane Katrina.

You’ll also hear her unique career story – from psychology to legal studies to sports writing.

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (4:55) “My dad was my soccer coach, and he’s really interested in the mental side of things, the football IQ side of football. We’re both very analytical in that way, so I found that was a good thing to discuss with my dad, being that there were no sons in the family.”

  • (6:42) “If nothing else, I would l like to serve as a tale of A) it’s never too late to change your mind on what you want to do and B) if you think you have an idea of what the five years out of your college experience are going to look like, please don’t have that set in stone.”

  • (10:48) “The more that you do mock drafts, one thing I’ve learned is don’t pigeonhole yourself on one player.”

  • (12:02) “While the Saints normally don’t draft based on need, the pandemic has put everyone in an unprecedented situation where there’s no real ability to retain key talent at positions of need. So their two big positions of need are cornerback and linebacker.”

  • (15:18) “If you’re a Saints fan, you have to know the Saints do not ever have a set place that they are picking.”
  • (19:59) “To have eight picks, with a lot of them in the 3rd or 4th round – those are actually picks that people would be interested in getting – that’s just so much capital to work with.”
  • (23:07) “What sticks out to me the most is (Zaven Collins) is a linebacker who has the tracking abilities of a safety.”
  • (24:12) “If I could have my dream pick – and it still included a cornerback – then it would be Zaven Collins.”
  • (29:25) Random Round

CONNECT WITH US / LINKS MENTIONED:

Maddy Hudak Twitter

2021 NFL Mock Draft – The Saints Wire – Maddy Hudak’s first round picks for every team

2021 NFL Draft – The Saints Wire – Seven rounds of Saints mock draft picks, with trades

Who Dat Confessional Podcast on YouTube

Rachel Jones Twitter

Rachel Jones Instagram

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NFL Draft Evaluations 101 with Randy Mueller

Black and Gold Rush features former New Orleans Saints GM Randy Mueller with the NFL Draft just three days away!

Mueller was thrilled to join the show and “be back in Saints world” – what he called one of the best times in his career, though it only lasted two years.

Mueller shares his insights on many topics from his 30+ years in football, from drafting the Saints’ all-time leading rusher Deuce McAllister in 2001 and how mock drafts played a role, to what the Who Dat Nation is all wondering – where the Saints will go with the 28th overall pick in 2021. Mueller also gets candid about how things ended for him in New Orleans and shares advice for others when life gets turned upside down.

Tune in Thursday, April 29, for a special NFL Draft edition of Black and Gold Rush with The Saints Wire’s Maddy Hudak!

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (3:40) “At age 17, I packed up my belongings and goofy looking permed hairdo and went over to the Seahawks facility and worked for $44 a week and ended up 20 years later, I was the boss.”

  • (7:10) “I’ve always been able to use these mock drafts as a tool. And when I say mock drafts, it’s anybody’s mock drafts, I don’t care if it’s a guy on the street, if it’s a guy from another team, if it’s a media guy, I welcomed all of our people to collect these drafts and bring them into our draft room.”

  • (15:02) “My philosophy has always been if you tell me exactly what you want, we’ll find it, that’s not a problem, we’ll find exactly the right fit. So I think it’s all about fit.”

  • (21:01) “I have Trevor Lawrence at the top, he has all all the boxes checked. He’s a big strong dude who can make all the throws. I think the biggest question I have about him is learning an NFL offense and processing it at a higher rate of speed than he’s ever had to do before at Clemson. And then I have Zach Wilson rated second behind him. Zack does so many things inside the pocket and outside the pocket and does more level 2 and level 3 quarterback tasks than any of the ones for me in this year’s draft. The other three guys, for me all have some questions.”

  • (23:44) “Picking as late as they do 28, here’s what I would say, I would say they’d be less inclined to fill a specific need and more inclined to pick the best player available. Nobody stacks their board the same. So the Saints pick at 28 will probably get somebody on their board that they rank in the top 20.”
  • (27:43) “The two short seasons I spent in New Orleans were the best of my professional life. It was awesome. And it was mainly because of the fans.”
  • (32:58) “Whether it’s doing podcasts, whether it’s writing, whether it’s doing anything you like, just try to stay in as many lanes as you can so you have options. And really, it’s all about options. That’s what our world is, right? It’s about timing and options.”  
  • (34:38) Random Round

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Mueller Football Advising

The Football GM on Apple Podcasts

The Draft Chronicles Part I: The Value of Mock Drafts

The Draft Chronicles Part II: The Draft is a crap shoot, right?

Deuce McAllister reflects on being drafted by the Saints 20 years ago today

Rachel Jones Twitter

Rachel Jones Instagram

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New Orleans Saints Draft Primer: Luke Johnson Joins the Podcast

This episode of Black and Gold Rush is a great mix of behind-the-scenes content and a Saints draft preview!

Host Rachel Jones and Luke Johnson, Saints beat writer at The Times-Picayune & New Orleans Advocate, predict the Saints’ strategy for the 2021 NFL Draft during their wide-ranging conversation.

Rachel and Luke were on The Daily Reveille sports staff together at LSU – and they reunite to discuss how serving in the U.S. Marine Corps shaped Luke’s life, the story behind Luke meeting his wife Chelsea, and much more.

Don’t miss next Monday’s episode featuring former Saints GM Randy Mueller!

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (6:05) “First and foremost, my dad was in the Marines for 20 years. I always kind of envied his stories. So that was number one. And number two, 911 happened when I was a sophomore in high school. And then that was pretty formative for a lot of people my age.”

  • (12:30) “(Luke’s wife) Chelsea worked in back shop and I worked in the newsroom. So we crossed paths every now and then … But then randomly we had a class together, and ironically enough the name of the class was Marriage and Family.”

  • (15:40) “I think Caleb Farley is the best corner in this draft.”

  • (23:49) “Everybody should pause this podcast now and go watch like a 5-minute Rondale Moore highlight tape. The guy is just so much fun to watch with the ball in his hands.”

  • (30:29) “Because both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are going to be free agents next year, there’s no guarantee that either of those guys are going to pan out in this offense. And I think it’d be smart enough to just like, always be keeping their options open with the quarterback position – the Saints should be example number one for how important that position is.”
  • (32:28) Random Round

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Saints beat writer mock draft 2.0: Luke Johnson’s picks

Saints have 8 picks in the NFL Draft – Who are the best ever selected in those spots?

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Black and Gold in Our Blood | Locked on Saints’ Ross Jackson Shares His Story

I’m back talking NFL Draft and so much more on Black and Gold Rush!  

This week’s guest is Ross Jackson, host of Locked on Saints since 2018.  As he tells host Rachel Jones, his journey started well before that.

Ross grew up in New Orleans and had New Orleans Saints fandom in his blood from an early age.  He has a master’s in fine arts from UC Irvine and dreamed of being a SportsCenter production assistant before he found sports writing and podcasting through the website All Saints Considered.

Not long afterward, a call from Locked On Network founder David Locke changed his career trajectory – Ross just added partnerships manager to his diverse job roles.

The NFL Draft is Locked On’s biggest event of the year, so what are the Saints going to do? Ross and Rachel address their biggest positions of need and discuss Jameis Winston’s leadership & how Sam Darnold’s trade to Carolina impacts the NFC South.

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (3:40) “I was born a Saints fan. The way that I like to say it, it wasn’t even a learned behavior. I just had it in my blood.”

  • (7:30) “I was always a bit of a performer my entire life. I was always that guy that wanted to make everybody laugh. I wanted to make sure everybody was having a good time – that’s who I always have been.”

  • (10:45) “I’ve always been a believer that don’t ever wait for the safety net, just leap. And if you need it, it will appear.”

  • (19:19) “Locked on Saints is not my show. I don’t call it my show. It’s not my podcast or anything. It’s our show. It really is a show that is just as much about the people that are listening as it is about the one person who’s lucky enough to sit in front of the microphone.”

  • (24:00) “The best advice that I’ve ever been given is just go – just do it.”
  • (26:46) “He (CB Asante Samuel Jr.) might be a little small, but he ain’t never going to act small, like he’ll never be that guy that’s going to back down or not get involved in a play or that’s going to take a play off or be a 50 percent guy or anything like that. He is somebody that brings a drive, brings in aggressiveness, and that brings a ton of confidence, which we know the Saints love in their DBs.”
  • (29:19) “Sam Darnold is not a quarterback that instills a lot of confidence in me. He’s not somebody I’ve ever been super high on. And we know that he hasn’t had the ability yet to live up to his draft expectations, especially considering what the Jets gave up to move up and draft him.”
  • (35:20) Random Round

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“Black and Gold Rush is awesome and authentic, and I can’t wait for more.”<— If that sounds like you, please rate and review the show! —> It’s easy – scroll to the bottom on Apple Podcasts, tap to rate out of 5 stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Jaymee Sire Shares Her Recipes for Overcoming Adversity & Living Joyfully

On this week’s episode of Black and Gold Rush, I talk to Jaymee Sire. Jaymee’s journey started in Great Falls, Montana, then hit a speed bump with a very public layoff from ESPN in 2017.

But she mastered the art of the pivot.

First Jaymee dishes on her interest in sports journalism and her obsession with cooking, then how she almost didn’t take her job offer with ESPN.  You’ll see how creativity, passion and determination helped fuel her pivot to food television and hosting the Food Network Obsessed podcast. Stay tuned until the end for some powerful advice for going through a layoff or any hard time!

Jaymee also tells the story of when she first met Bobby Flay – an ESPN “Car Wash” segment.  She was always the point person for cooking-related interviews, and she simply asked to be a guest on “Beat Bobby Flay.” 

Her first appearance on Food Network didn’t air until after her layoff from ESPN, but her next career steps were already in motion – cue Iron Chef Showdown.  Now you can find Jaymee hosting Food Network Obsessed on Fridays, doing live cooking classes on the Food Network Kitchen app, and much more.

We’ll also dive into Jaymee’s dream food day (24:19) and her favorite New Orleans foods (29:15) – bell peppers not included!

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (10:30) “The funny thing is, I almost didn’t take that job (at ESPN.”)
  • (13:33) “It was a bummer to say goodbye to it, but I have fond memories of that entire team both on air and off the air.  We were literally a huge family … People ask me all the time if I would go back and I don’t know what the answer to that is.”
  • (14:49) “I had a co-worker at one point, we were at a Giants game, and she said, ‘Why don’t you start your own blog – you’re always talking about food and the recipes you’re making and the restaurants you’re visiting,’ and I was like, ‘Yea, I should!’”
  •  (21:23) “One of the things I’ve always loved about journalism and my job and my career throughout the years is the ability to tell people’s stories.  A lot of times in TV you don’t get a lot of time to sit with somebody … but podcasting in general you get a chance to dive in and ask them about topics that are important to them and important to your listeners as well.”
  • (24:19) Jaymee’s dream food day – from huckleberries in Montana, to fresh Italian foods, to a steak dinner with her late father
  • (30:55) “We ate really well when we were down there (in New Orleans). It’s definitely been on my list to go back there with my boyfriend as well. There’s so many good things you could pick – shrimp po’boys for sure. There are so many fantastic places down there – it’s so hard to narrow it down to one place or one dish. You guys have some good food down there!”
  • (36:34) “Somebody told me that if you haven’t been fired or let go at least once in your life – you just have to go through that. Having that happen obviously is not ideal, but everything happens for a reason. I’m still making my way in this food television world every single day, but I’m getting there. So I think having that happen to me, and then also hearing that piece of advice where you have to go through that to really appreciate it is great advice for everybody.”

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“Black and Gold Rush is awesome and authentic, and I can’t wait for more.”<— If that sounds like you, please rate and review the show! —> It’s easy – scroll to the bottom on Apple Podcasts, tap to rate out of 5 stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Drew Brees’ Exclusive with Fletcher Mackel, Plus Saints’ Glaring Needs 1 and 1A

This week on Black and Gold Rush, WDSU-TV sports anchor/reporter Fletcher Mackel joins me for another great New Orleans Saints conversation. Fletcher and I both were born and raised in New Orleans, so we talk about our early years following the Saints, even before Drew Brees and Sean Payton arrived to resurrect the franchise from years of futility.

Now though, the Saints face an uncertain offseason for many reasons, and Fletcher just had an exclusive interview with QB Drew Brees after his retirement. 

He and I explore the top takeaways from that interview, and discuss whether Jameis Winston will seize his opportunity at redemption and earn the starting role in 2021.  It’s been a while – try 20 years – since the Saints had a legitimate quarterback battle, but we both remember it!

Plus, Fletcher outlines what he believes are the Saints’ glaring needs “1 & 1a” – cornerback and starting linebacker.  Stay tuned for the weekly random round (starts at 26:50!)

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (5:28) “I don’t know what life was life without a twin or somebody else there. Now as an adult, it’s definitely a unique concept because we work together and we do the same thing. So that’s a bit more of a novelty than just growing up as a twin.”
  • (8:16) “That was something that was a really great part of the interview was [Drew Brees] talking about New Orleans not just as a party city, but as a place that you can start a business and raise a family. As somebody like you who’s from here, those are the things you want to hear because you want to be proud of New Orleans.”
  • (10:39) “Look, Tony Romo prepares, but everybody always jokes – he’s calling out plays and dissecting plays before they even happen because he understands coverages and what’s going on. I think you’re going to see something very similar from Drew Brees, and I think he’s going to be a pretty instant success in the broadcast booth because his football IQ is through the roof, he’s personable and smart, and he’s not showing up to wing it on Saturdays.”
  • (16:05) “Talking about Jameis is two-fold to me. Jameis the human being is one thing – maturing, trying to become a better person, getting past his past transgressions.  Jameis the player is another thing. Is he going to be a turnover machine like we saw at Florida State or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? I think the Saints are going to put him in a role reminiscent of what we saw with Teddy Bridgewater, where Teddy was a game manager for those five games.”

  • (18:46) “Do I think that Sean Payton will take more shots down the field with Jameis Winston as his quarterback? Absolutely. Because he has the ability to do it. … I think the Saints are going to be very game-plan heavy from game to game.”

  • (23:00) “As far as the glaring needs, I look at two as 1 and 1a: starting cornerback and starting linebacker next to Demario Davis.”

  • (26:08) “Going back to the Billy Joe Hobert & Billy Joe Tolliver days, which were some dark days in Saints history, it’s been 20 years since we’ve had an all-out quarterback battle.”

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Jameis or Taysom? Larry Holder Talks Saints QBs, Roster Depth & NFL Draft

Let’s face it – it’s difficult to imagine the New Orleans Saints without Drew Brees. 

His arrival when New Orleans was at its lowest point after Hurricane Katrina lifted up the city and forever transformed the Saints into perennial competitors.  But with his retirement now official, Sean Payton and the Saints must decide on their new quarterback, and the team will look noticeably different moving forward.

In this week’s podcast, columnist Larry Holder of The Athletic joins host Rachel Jones for an insightful, upbeat conversation on where the Saints go from here.  A battle will unfold between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, but the Saints have plenty more unanswered questions.

What are the highest priorities in the 2021 NFL Draft?  Mickey Loomis has said the Saints won’t be major players in free agency, but that could change in an instant.  They are among the teams expressing interest in cornerback Richard Sherman, for instance, and CB is an obvious need.

Larry and Rachel also discuss their common backgrounds as LSU graduates and Daily Reveille writers, plus it’s the debut of the Random Round on Black and Gold Rush! Stay tuned until the end (25:40) for quick questions & answers that will peel back the curtain even further with each guest. 

LISTEN FOR THESE QUOTES:

  • (8:19) “Let’s go back to that day – We didn’t know if [Drew Brees] was going to pan out because he’s coming off of the shoulder surgery.  He was ready to go to Miami, and they did not medically clear him, and the Saints did.”
  • (9:33) “Everyone thought Reggie Bush was going to be the savior, and then the legend of Breesus comes up. It’s definitely a kinship where they grew together and obviously led to the most significant success in the history of this organization by a landslide.”
  • (12:26) “People are looking at it and rightfully so, that it’s going to be Jameis vs. Taysom. It’s also bizarre for Saints fans that one of the people competing was a division rival for so long, and so there’s an uneasiness there. And then there’s an uneasiness with Taysom Hill, even though he went 3-1 this past year, it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”
  • (13:36) “Everybody’s going to be sitting out there jotting down every throw. It’s going to be daily stats coming out on these guys. I’m not saying fans are ready for a change, but I think this is kind of refreshing. You knew a change was going to come, and so I think there’s actually an excitement to see what’s next with Drew Brees at 42 retiring from football.”

  • (19:13) “These last few years when the Saints were really good, it’s because they had quality across the board. Now they have a really top-heavy team of superstar players.”

  • (21:48) “You have to adjust your eyes. You wouldn’t have to worry about Janoris Jenkins because he’s a good cornerback, well you’re gonna worry about what’s going on over there now … and of course you’re gonna worry at quarterback. So we are going to have to program our brains a little differently and say if the Saints get into the playoffs, this is good.”

  • (24:42) “Go to Vegas, put money down that I’m going to put a cornerback in their (draft) class. They’re going to have to go young there because young also means inexpensive.”

  • (25:40) Random Round)

CONNECT WITH US / LINKS MENTIONED:

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Larry Holder Twitter

Larry Holder’s Saints Mock Draft 1.0

Drew Brees Tales: 15 years of anecdotes on the Saints legend, AKA ‘a truthful Uncle Rico’

The Saints may have stars, but the middle tier of their roster is falling apart

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