Can the Saints really wait until No. 62 to draft? They might have to

The New Orleans Saints aren’t on the clock.

Well, for now anyway.

The Saints don’t have a pick in Thursday night’s opening round of the NFL draft because they used it to move up last year and select defensive end Marcus Davenport.

They don’t have third- or fourth-round picks, either, because of trades for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and cornerback Eli Apple. Their only pick in the first four rounds is No. 62 overall.

But stay on alert, because history has shown us time and again that general manager Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton aren’t very good at sitting on their hands.

They have traded up a total of 15 times over the past 12 drafts. And in eight of those cases, they used a future year's pick to do it.

Meanwhile, they haven’t traded down since 2007.

Loomis let out a big laugh earlier this week at his pre-draft news conference when asked if things will get restless in the Saints’ war room.

“Probably,” Loomis said. “It’s pretty hard to go from 62 into the first round, but we’ll see what happens.”

The Saints have traded up in Round 1 (or into Round 1) four times since 2008. That ranks second behind only the Cleveland Browns over that span, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

So, as assistant GM/college scouting director Jeff Ireland said recently, “Anything’s possible with Sean and Mickey.”

But to get into Round 1, they would almost certainly have to package their second-round pick and next year’s first-rounder.

Even that wouldn’t get them a premium pick. But that’s exactly what they did to get Mark Ingram with the 28th pick in the 2011 draft, for example.

“You’re not gonna move from 62 into 10, 15 or any of that,” Payton told reporters while participating in a Zurich Classic golf tournament charity event Tuesday. “[Would we] be interested in moving up to 31? Maybe. But it would just be specific to a player.”

The good news for the Saints is that they don’t have any glaring needs that must be filled in their starting lineup.

Payton listed some of New Orleans’ top needs as depth on the offensive line, a linebacker who can contribute on special teams, and a defensive end or defensive tackle who can be used in sub-rush packages. But as usual, the Saints’ picks will depend more on the grades of the players available than filling any specific position group.

Both Payton and Loomis stressed that they like the depth in this year’s draft and feel comfortable that a highly graded player will be available at No. 62 if they can manage to stay patient.

“Nonetheless,” Payton said of plans for Thursday night, “We’re putting our suits on.”