The New Orleans Saints were aggressive in their attempts to trade up in the 2021 NFL draft, but head coach Sean Payton said they did not find receptive takers.
Payton appeared on the Rich Eisen Show and said the team tried to trade up for Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II.
“It was pretty simple. There were a couple players that we’d move up for, but for us we have a ‘must’ at corner,” Payton said Tuesday. “So we had two corners graded—both Horn and Surtain—with real high grades. And very quickly, early in the week, it’s pretty common for teams to say, ‘Hey, we have an interest.’ Everyone’s basically open for business.
“But ultimately, there wasn’t a team wanting to move out of the first 10 picks. And so, I think that lasted all of a half an hour maybe, the morning of reaching out to these teams. And the cost would’ve been, if we found a trade partner, too high. So at that point, our feeling was, it’s going to come to us at [No.] 28 so let’s make sure we have our cloud of players ready. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Horn was drafted No. 8 overall to the Carolina Panthers, and Surtain went a pick later to the Denver Broncos. It's likely Carolina and Denver were among the teams unreceptive to New Orleans because they wanted the cornerbacks for themselves.
With the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins focused on wide receiver and the Detroit Lions on upgrading their offensive line, it's not hard to see why the Saints struggled finding a trade partner.
Of course, this was not the only time in Round 1 the Saints tried making a move. Michael Lombardi of The Athletic reported the Saints tried to position themselves to move up to draft Mac Jones as well, but New Orleans was thwarted when the New England Patriots took him at No. 15.