There might be some enticing options available to the Saints when they come on the clock for their first two picks in the draft.
Strip away everything else but talent and tape, and if the board falls as many are projecting, New Orleans could have a shot at Nebraska edge rusher Randy Gregory with the 13th pick and possibly Washington’s Marcus Peters or Oklahoma wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham with the 31st pick.
The problem is that all three players come with character concerns, which makes it impossible to strip away everything else. And that’s something that Saints coach Sean Payton is trying to work through.
Gregory recently failed a drug test at the scouting combine, while Peters was dismissed from his program due to a rift with the coaching staff and Green-Beckham has multiple arrests under his belt.
“One of the points of emphasis for us and it’s been something that I would say since we got here back in ’06, valuing that character, toughness and intelligence,” Payton said during an interview with WWL radio. “That, I think, is important especially with some of these tough decisions early in the draft, whether it’s your 13th pick or the 31st pick or onto the second round.
“Some of these early selections you’re hoping to get some quick help with. Generally, the research and the time is spent on how these guys adjust and handle and what’s their desire and their want to be successful at the next level.”
New Orleans is currently in the process of finalizing its draft board and meeting with various prospects to tie up loose ends. Some of those ends have included meeting with Gregory and Peters at the team’s headquarters.
The team has not and is not currently scheduled to have an official visit with Green-Beckham, according to a source.
Those visits will help determine how dangerous the red flags are.
“Every year it’s always an interesting process because there are parts of it that aren’t an exact science,” the coach said. “That’s the reason we see guys that don’t make it drafted in the first round and it’s the very same reason we see guys drafted in the fifth, sixth, later rounds that go on to have great careers. That’s the thing that keeps you up and that’s the thing that keeps you working, digging, trying to find out as much information about these players as possible.”