Sean Payton confirmed what was reported on the opening day of the draft: The New Orleans Saints pursued a trade into the top 10 for a cornerback.
"It was pretty simple. We felt there were a couple of players that we'd move up for, and for us, we have a must at corner. There were two corners graded - both (Jaycee) Horn and (Patrick) Surtain - with real high grades," the Saints head coach said Wednesday on "The Rich Eisen Show."
The Saints held the 28th pick of the first round.
The Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, and Denver Broncos - picking seventh, eighth, and ninth overall, respectively - all previously expressed an interest in trading their top-10 selections. The Atlanta Falcons, drafting at No. 4, also said they'd be open to trading the pick. Still, the Saints couldn't reach a deal with any of those clubs.
"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," Payton said.
"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 have been, if we found a trade partner, too high. So at that point, our feeling was, 'It's going to come to us at 28 and let's make sure we have our cloud of players ready.' And it's exactly what happened."
The Panthers kept their pick and made Horn the first corner selected in the draft. Surtain went next at No. 9 to the Broncos.