How Payton stole Stevens from division rival

Tommy Stevens
Posted at 9:42 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 22:44:01-04

Sean Payton felt entitled to Mississippi State's Tommy Stevens.

"We know the role. We invented the role," he told the Athletic.

So Payton just went out and got him, even if that meant trading back into the draft. Payton broke down the Saints' draft with the Athletic, and admitted the unusual story of how the team's seventh round pick came to be.

After dealing away their day three haul to trade up and draft tight end Adam Trautman in the third, the Saints had no more picks. All that was left when Saturday rolled around was to sign undrafted free agents. Payton made a call to Tommy Stevens who told him he was headed to Carolina. According to the Athletic Payton offered to match their offer, then upped it. Still, Stevens said he would keep his word and stay committed to Carolina. Stevens and Panthers' offensive coordinator Joe Brady worked together at Penn State. Brady worked with Payton for a year in New Orleans, too.

With no luck changing Steven's mind, Payton took matters into his own hands. New Orleans didn't have a pick, so the Saints shipped their 2021 sixth-rounder to Houston, and swooped in. Payton reportedly even sent a text to Brady saying "Not so fast."

The move gives the Saints an athletic raw quarterback they can develop, but also a player who fits the Taysom Hill mold. Stevens started at quarterback in an injury filled season with Mississippi State this year after spending three years at Penn State where he played a similar role to that of Taysom Hill's. Stevens is listed at 6-foot-4 inches tall, 247 pounds. During his virtual prod day, he clocked a 4.49 40-yard-dash.

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