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Saints' GM Loomis evasive in tipping off Saints' draft plans

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints are interested in dealing for a draft pick higher than their current No. 10 slot in the first round, but have had only informal talks about it, general manager Mickey Loomis said Tuesday.

"We've talked to a number of teams in front of us about the possibility of moving forward. It's all preliminary discussion," Loomis said. "We've just expressed a desire to talk about it with a number of teams."

Loomis was evasive while meeting with reporters at the Saints' training headquarters, apologetically saying that he did not want to tip off other teams to the Saints' draft plans.

Loomis also declined to discuss players under contract with any other team, which meant he would not address reports that the Saints had explored the possibility of a trade with the New York Giants to acquire disgruntled tight end Jeremy Shockey.

Loomis declined to say which teams he had spoken with about trading up in the draft or what their initial demands were for compensation.

After the Saints went 7-9 last season, head coach Sean Payton said the Saints would need to improve their defense in the offseason. Through free agency, they have acquired linebackers Jonathan Vilma in a trade with the Jets for their fourth-round draft pick and signed free agent Dan Morgan. The Saints also brought in free agent defensive end Bobby McCray.

Looking to bolster their pass rush, the Saints still could use a defensive tackle such as LSU standout and Louisiana native Glenn Dorsey, who's expected to be taken higher than 10th.

Loomis said whether the Saints move up "depends on the value of what it costs to move."

"The first step is to get an idea of what the cost to move forward is going to be," Loomis said. "So that's really what the discussions to date have been."

The Saints also would consider moving back in the draft if approached with a good offer, but no team picking behind New Orleans has made such an inquiry with the Saints yet, Loomis said.

Only one pick in the draft is certain so far. The Miami Dolphins announced Tuesday they had agreed to contract terms with their intended first overall selection, Michigan left tackle Jake Long.

Long's deal with Miami "will impact the discussions that we'll have," Loomis said, but again declined to get specific.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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