Jeff Ireland and scouting staff leading Saints through unprecedented draft prep

Jeff Ireland and scouting staff leading Saints through unprecedented draft prep
Saints Assistant GM and College Scouting Director Jeff Ireland talks with Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin during LSU Pro Day (Source: Edwin Goode, WVUE-FOX 8)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Jeff Ireland was added to the Saints staff in January of 2015 and after a rough transition draft that spring, New Orleans has had a tremendous success rate. Since 2016, 10 draftees have gone on to contribute as starters.

Now serving as Assistant General Manager and College Scouting Director, Jeff Ireland receives significant praise from Sean Payton "He loves the grind of the film. He loves still being on the road, getting to these workouts, getting to these campuses. He’s put together a real good scouting staff. I think we’ve done a really good job that way. If you were sitting in on these meetings, you’d see the attention to detail that takes place when we discuss a player. I think he’s someone that not only is a close friend but, a talented, talented evaluator. And I think it just starts with his background as a scout and his background of being with some really, really good personnel people.”

Payton and Ireland share a lineage in the football fraternity that traces back to Bill Parcells “He grew up a scout and man, that’s how he cut his teeth,” Payton said on an April 1st teleconference. “He’s been around, I’d say his bloodlines are outstanding. We met when I went to Dallas with Bill (Parcells). Jeff was there and we formed a real good relationship there. Of course years later then when I came here shortly after Jeff went to Miami with Bill and Tony (Sparano). So I’ve known Jeff for quite a while.”

In 2020, the Saints have just five selections to work with but the biggest challenge at the present is getting an entire staff on the same page while working entirely remotely, as mandated by the NFL “Generally the month of March, early April players have these pro days,” Payton explained. “All of those have been canceled and so I would say one of the challenges would be that that box, if you will, that you check off, whether it’s the measurable the height and weight. We have a lot of those checked, but there’s probably more unchecked boxes this year for teams than normal because that month of March after the combine was eliminated and look that’s part of the deal.”

"Right now, for every team is this final stack of organizing your board and discussing the vision for each of these players. But I’d say logistically, the physicals, their health, the rechecks, some of the things that take place after the combine that are going to be, probably much more difficult to do. Those would be the things that come to mind.”

The Saints hold the following selections heading into the draft, set for April 23-25:

  • #24 overall (1st round)
  • #88 overall (3rd)
  • #130 overall (4th)
  • #169 overall (5th)
  • #203 overall (6th)

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