NFL Draft: Saints take Rutgers safety Saquan Hampton in 6th round

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The New Orleans Saints have picked back-to-back safeties as part of their 2019 NFL Draft haul.

Rutgers safety Saquan Hampton was the team’s only sixth round at No. 177 overall. The 6-foot-1, 206 pounder shined at the East-West Shrine game after a stellar senior season. He ran 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and out up 14 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine.

Hampton had three interceptions and 13 pass breakups in his senior season for the Scarlet Knights after his sophomore and junior seasons were plagued by shoulder injuries. He has shown versatility playing in the box and around the field in coverage.

In their earlier selection Saturday, the Saints traded up in round four to take versatile Florida safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

New Orleans Saints Safety Saquan Hampton
2019 NFL Draft Media Availability
Saturday, April 27, 2019

Where are you right now?
“I’m back home in New Jersey.”

Are you having a draft party or anything?
“Yes sir. Family and friends. They’re inside the house right now.”

How did you all react when you got the call?
“We acted wild. It was a blessing just to have the opportunity to be a New Orleans Saint.”

Who called you from the Saints?
“One of the coaches called me (Mickey Loomis, Jeff Ireland, Peter Giunta, and Aaron Glenn all spoke on the phone with Hampton).”

How much did you talk to the Saints before the draft?
“The Saints came and worked me out. We had a great workout at my school at Rutgers University.”

Who led that?
“It was the assistant.” (Peter Giunta worked him out at Rutgers).

What do you know about the team?
“I know it’s a team that has a great (reputation) and it’s a great organization and I’m ready to come in and work hard each and every day.”

You had a lot of experience on special teams. How much did the Saints talk to you about that aspect once you got drafted or before you got drafted?
“Special teams is always emphasized at Rutgers and when the Saints came in they emphasized special teams as well. For me, special teams is something I started on all four years at Rutgers. It would be an honor to play on special teams.”

How’s your health? You dealt with some shoulder injuries your sophomore and junior year?
“I’m 100% healthy. I’m ready to come in and go to work and help provide for this team.”

On defense, how would you describe your game?
“I think I’m versatile, you can plug me in a different variety of spots. You can put me single high (safety). I could also play in a box and I can cover tight ends extremely well.”

Have you kept up with what Saints have done so far in the draft and picking up another safety earlier today?
“Yes, I think it’d be great competition to come in and compete. It’s something I love to do, something I’ve my whole life. I think it’d be a good opportunity to bond with the class that is coming in.”

What was your family’s reaction?
“They were really happy. Definitely excited, blessed and humbled. That was definitely exciting to have it, and an exciting moment for us. (It was) the best moment of my life, I can definitely say that.”

How well do you know (Assistant Special Teams Coach) Phil Galiano?
“Coach Galiano was up at Rutgers. He was a special teams guy when I was there. He emphasized it a lot and we excelled at that stage of the game. I can’t wait to get up there.”

Did he have any hand in recruiting you?
“No, sir.”

Have you visited New Orleans before?
“No, sir. I have never been to Louisiana.”

What do you expect it to be like? Any idea?
“I heard it is a great city, a great organization, and a great town to be in. I’m excited to get up there.”

Are you familiar at all with Keith Kirkwood? Have you met him before?
“Yes, I played against him in high school in the (New Jersey State) Championship game. I definitely remember him, having guarded him.”

Who won that matchup?
“It was a little back and forth. It was a good matchup. We got the victory, though.”

Have you talked with him since high school?
“No, sir. I have not.”

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