Saints go with a center from Michigan as No. 1 pick.

Five LSU players taken — none to Saints

The NFL draft set up perfectly for the New Orleans Saints to break their puzzling streak of never having drafted a home-state LSU player in the first round.

And the opportunity was there.

But the Saints chose instead to go with Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz, the second straight year they’ve taken a center with their first pick.

“One of the areas that we thought was important in this draft was the interior of the offensive line,” head coach Sean Payton said. “Those guys are hard to find later in the draft. We had a very high grade on Cesar.”

Linebacker was also a stated need for the Saints, and it was a mild surprise that LSU’s Patrick Queen, the defensive MVP of the Tigers’ national championship win over Clemson, was still available for the 24th pick.

Queen went four picks later at No. 28 to the Baltimore Ravens.

Erik McCoy started all 17 games as a rookie for the Saints at center last year, but Payton indicated that either McCoy or Ruiz might move to guard.

“Obviously, one of them is going to be a guard because we weren’t drafting someone that high to be a backup,” Payton said of the selection of Ruiz.

The Saints will try to address other needs, such as linebacker and wide receiver, when the draft continues Friday with rounds two and three.

The Saints do not have a second round selection and aren’t scheduled to pick again until the third with the 88th overall pick. But Payton said it’s possible they may try to trade up to get back into the second round.

 “We know we’ve got a need position at linebacker. We’ve got to fill that some way, shape or form. Now that may not be through the draft, but it would be nice if we could fill it through the draft.”

The Saints passing on Queen didn’t hurt LSU much as the Tigers landed a school-record five that was most by any program.

In fact, the opening round began and ended with LSU players.

Joe Burrow to the Bengals with the first overall pick was the biggest foregone conclusion since the LSU quarterback won the Heisman Trophy.

But his best friend on the team, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was viewed as more of a second- or third-rounder before the Super Bowl champions took him with 32nd and final pick of the draft.

In between, in addition to Queen,  edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson went to Jacksonville with the the 20th pick and Justin Jefferson, another potential Saints target, went with the 22nd pick to the Minnesota Vikings.

The five Tigers made up one-third of the 15 SEC players taken in the first round, which was the most ever by one conferenceSaints

Crime

Three more linked to Oakdale bar shooting

Local News

State confirms seventh pediatric death from COVID-19 in fourth surge

Local Business News

Jeff Davis hoping to join program designed to attract business

Local Business News

EMS Academy looking for ‘right people in right spots’

Local Business News

Four state amendments await voters Nov. 13

Local Business News

George Swift column: Recovery, rebuilding after storms

Local Business News

Names in the News: People making a difference in the Lake Area

Local News

Breaux has honed some serious culinary skills since his Crock-pot days

Local News

Cemetery Association asking for help with hurricane-damaged graves

Crime Brief

Fort Polk soldiers charged in DeRidder drive-by shooting

Crime Brief

Lake Arthur man loses hunting privileges

Local News

Higgins says he will vote against raising debt limit

Local News

Field of education plays major role in Broussard household

Local News

Driver, passenger killed in collision with 18-wheeler

Local News

Colo. man struck, killed in Calcasieu

Local News

The Last Island Hurricane of 1856: Killer storm wiped out a pre-Civil War resort island

Local News

Volunteer of Week: Stanford dedicates life to city

Local News

Slow rebuild: Local officials say recovery still a ways off

Local News

Pair has passion for civic engagement

Local News

Nonprofit director to retire: Hickman has worked for BArc for 39 years

Local News

Christian Youth Theater opens season with ‘Adam’s Family’

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Let health experts call shots

high-school Football

Jennings High comes to aid of former foe

Local News

Victims of Ida get glimpse of journey ahead