The NFL fans finally got a taste for something new this week, with the 7 rounds of the annual NFL draft. As usual, there were some surprises, some names taken earlier than expected and some names left on the board just a little too long. 

This year, many NFL war rooms were looking for the next Taysom Hill, the do-it-all quarterback from the New Orleans Saints. The contenders for that role this year were the Carolina Panthers and, none other than the Saints, again. 

Coach Payton spoke to The Athletic before the draft talking about how the Saints decided to draft flex player Tommy Stevens before he had the chance to sign with the Panthers.

Payton said, “there’s no way I was going to lose this kid.“ 

The former Mississippi State and Penn State QB has often drawn comparisons to the rising talent that is Hill. 

The Saints originally had no seventh round pick, but ended up trading ahead to take the flex QB. Stevens was high on their priority list, so Payton and company made it a mission to trade around to draft him. 

Stevens had worked with Panthers OC Joe Brady, when Brady was a graduate assistant at Penn State. Brady also used to work as an offensive assistant with the Saints, further enhancing the stakes of this bidding war. 

The Saints try to up the offer to $144,000 of salary guaranteed, but Steven’s and his agent did not take it still inclined to honor their commitment to the Carolina Panthers.

The Saints decided to trade ahead, so they took a pick for the Panthers and ended up taking Stevens with the 240th overall pick.

According to Payton, he sent a text to Brady saying “not so fast” and another that said “I’m tired of asking, now I’m taking.”

After the draft, Payton expressed that they want Stevens to both be a developmental QB as well as someone they can utilize as a part of special teams and their receiving core. 

While the multi-faceted QB was riddled by injuries last season, he managed to throw for 1,155 yards and 11 touchdowns for Mississippi State last year. He also tacked on 381 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. 

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