Sean Payton Drafting a QB He Didn't Want Just to Stick it to the Panthers is a Petty Masterpiece

Former Mississippi State QB Tommy Stevens
Former Mississippi State QB Tommy Stevens / Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Former Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens had a couple nice throws during his time at Penn State before transferring, and he looked okay at the East-West Shrine Bowl. That's about the only positive thing that one can say about his pro outlook, even though he managed to be selected 240th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.

Stevens' selection was actually more of a product of Sean Payton acting needlessly petty than actually wanting a fourth quarterback on his roster. Stevens had reportedly agreed to an undrafted free agent deal with the Carolina Panthers, as he knew offensive coordinator Joe Brady from his time as a grad assistant with the Nittany Lions. To prevent that from happening, per Jeff Duncan of The Athletic, Payton traded a sixth-rounder in 2021 to move ahead of Carolina, select Stevens, and spoil the reunion.

This is kind of funny from Payton, but I hope he realizes that the Saints are actually the bigger losers in this whole charade.

Stevens is fighting for a spot on the practice squad. If he gets cut, which is more likely than not given the glut of quarterbacks in New Orleans, he could just sign with Carolina later anyway. Furthermore, New Orleans will be out of a sixth-round pick for their troubles.

Such is the animosity between NFC South rivals.

Essentially, Payton traded a sixth-rounder for a seventh-rounder that likely won't make the team at all. It doesn't sound like the Panthers are too peeved that Stevens is down in New Orleans if this is what it took to get him.