NBA Draft, New Orleans Saints

Sean Payton gets in on the Zion game

It appears Zion Williamson is headed to New Orleans, and just about everyone in the city is making a pitch for his services.

When Mark Tatum announced that the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft belonged to the New Orleans Pelicans, everyone knew what it meant. Barring some sort of miracle, the most hyped prospect since LeBron James is headed to the Bayou.

The city has been in celebration mode ever since as it begins to prepare for the imminent arrival of Zion Williamson. And it’s not just those in basketball circles who are excited.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton extended a warm welcome to the former Duke superstar, too.

As Drew Brees enters his age 40 season, Payton could use some an extra weapon, right?

The notion that Williamson could carve himself out a role in the NFL if he wanted isn’t unfamiliar. At 6-foot-7, 285 pounds and only 18 years old, the kid has the body of an NFL tight end — and is likely more athletic than most of them.

After all, the Saints could use some extra help in the pass-catching department. Behind All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas, New Orleans is set to rely on a mix of unproven youngsters Tre’Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood and Cam Meredith.

The Saints signed former Raiders tight end Jared Cook to a two-year deal in March to bolster the position. Imagine the nightmares defensive coordinators would have trying to prepare for two-tight end sets featuring the 6-5 Cook and Williamson.

Of course, that’s not really happening. Zion will be in New Orleans to play basketball and the Pelicans are owned by Gayle Benson, who also owns the Saints. Many have suggested the Pelicans’ unlikely surge to the top of the draft lottery was the sports gods repaying the city after the heartache that the Saints’ last two seasons have ended in.

Whatever the reason, Zion Williamson will soon be playing basketball in New Orleans, against all odds. And the Saints would love to have him, too.

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