Saints assistant general manager and college scouting director Jeff Ireland didn't treat Friday's Pro Day at LSU any differently than any of the other Pro Days he's been to this year or in year's past.
Despite the Saints not having a draft pick until the second round of April's NFL draft - the No. 62 pick overall - Ireland isn't cutting any corners when it comes to evaluating players.
No, it's not easy not having a first round pick. But it doesn't change his approach.
"It's going to be difficult, but we approach every draft pretty much the same," Ireland said. "We are going to evaluate every player we can possibly get our eyes on. We're going to build the board exactly the same way that we always have."
Jared Cook hasn't signed his name on the dotted line just yet.
Ireland echoed the same draft philosophy Sean Payton talked about earlier in March at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
"You don't approach it any differently," Payton said at the combine. "You're grading everything because it's very easy to acquire an asset. Someone may say, ‘Well you don't have a first-round pick.’ Well, right now we don't, but if we wanted one we could probably get one. So you have to be on top of how you see the players and how you see the value."
Payton didn't attend Friday's Pro Day at LSU. General manager Mickey Loomis, as well as defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn and defensive line coach Ryan Nielson were among the Saints' staff in attendance. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was the only NFL head coach seen at Friday's event.
Ireland feels like he can find a diamond in the rough even if the Saints don't have a pick until the second day of the draft. Two years ago, Ireland helped the Saints land Marcus Williams in the second round and Alvin Kamara and Alex Anzalone in the third round. All three are starters.
"I always feel like a strength of mine is those late round guys," Ireland said. "When our (draft) board gets picked apart and there are still some guys on the board, you feel a strong conviction to draft those players. So we are going to build it the same way and hope for some good players on the back end of the draft. "
The Saints have reached an agreement with defensive back and returner Marcus Sherels, according to a source.
The Saints have six picks in this year's draft. In addition to the second round pick, they also have a fifth round, two in the sixth round and two in the seventh round.
And Ireland also know that that just because the Saints currently don't have a pick until the second round, that doesn't mean it's set in stone.
"Anything is possible with Sean and Mickey," Ireland said. "Our job is to acquire the best players possible. When an opportunity and the situation is ideal, that's when you go and try to get another player. You've got to have the ammunition to do that. But if there is a player that attracts us, no doubt."