NEW ORLEANS (AP) - General manager Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton have orchestrated a considerable makeover for the New Orleans Saints, resulting in the departure of several players who were veteran leaders on recent playoff teams.
While the signing of free agents has largely filled that void, the Saints hope this week's NFL draft brings a few more instant contributors to a team that expects a fifth playoff appearance in six seasons.
Barring trades, New Orleans heads into Thursday night's first round with the 27th pick, followed by six more picks in Rounds 2 through 6.
Loomis says the Saints already have a good team with few holes, and expect to pick the best player available. Based on draft analysts' projections, that player could be a cornerback, receiver, defensive end or linebacker.
AP NFL website: and

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