BOSTON (CBS) — When the first round of last week’s NFL Draft was playing out, things kind of broke the Patriots’ way. The team was able to land Mac Jones at No. 15 without having to give up any extra assets to get him.

Apparently, that wasn’t for lack of effort from at least one other team.

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Michael Lombardi said on his podcast — “The GM Shuffle” — that Sean Payton loved Jones. After the Saints weren’t able to trade into the top 10 to land one of the top two cornerbacks on the board, Lombardi said the Saints tried to get ahead of the Patriots in order to draft Jones.

“I’ve had this confirmed to me by two teams. [The Saints] were trying to get up above New England to get Mac Jones. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Now, everybody will deny it, no, no, no. I’m just telling you: They were trying to get ahead. They couldn’t get there,” Lombardi said.

With the Bears trading up to take Justin Fields at No. 11, the Cowboys then took linebacker Micah Parsons as the 12th pick. The Chargers drafted tackle Rashawn Slater at No. 13, and then the Jets traded with Minnesota to take guard Alijah Vera-Tucker at No. 14. Lombardi said the Jets’ offer was better than what New Orleans could’ve offered.

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“There was nowhere for them to go. And I don’t know if the Saints called New England to try to trade for that pick, or if they knew New England was going to just take Mac Jones,” Lombardi said.

Even though Jones was the fifth quarterback taken in the draft, Lombardi indicated he was a hot commodity.

“Here’s what I would say for a fact. And I’ve had this told to me by at least four people in the league. Sean Payton loved Mac Jones,” Lombardi said. “If Sean Payton loved Mac Jones, Josh McDaniels loved Mac Jones, and Kyle Shanahan liked Mac Jones, [then] Mac Jones must be a pretty good player. Because I think those three guys know how to evaluate quarterbacks.”

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The Saints — who lost Drew Brees to retirement after last season — did end up taking a quarterback, drafting Ian Book out of Notre Dame in the fourth round.

CBSBoston.com Staff