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Jeff Ireland: Saints rookie quarterback Jake Haener has similarities to Drew Brees

Mike Florio and Peter King play a round of “Which Doesn’t Belong and Why” to digest the NFL draft, including QBs selected in the Top 5, GMs receiving near-universal praise for their draft classes and more.

The Saints believe fourth-round rookie quarterback Jake Haener has some of the same traits as the greatest quarterback in franchise history.

Jeff Ireland, the Saints’ assistant general manager and college scouting director, told Jeff Duncan of that Haener, who like Brees is short but an accurate passer, has great potential.

“You wouldn’t think he was 6-foot tall when you watch him,” Ireland said of Haener. “He’s got great processing ability. He’s got great vision. He’s got a quick stroke. He’s extremely smart. He’s a sixth-year senior, so he’s really mature for being a college senior. He’s competed in two different programs, he’s competed at Washington, competed at Fresno State. And I was just really impressed with the person, how he plays. He’s had several fourth-quarter comebacks. He does kind of remind you or there’s some similarities to No. 9.”

Ireland acknowledged that there’s only one Drew Brees, but he also said Haener has special traits.

“You can’t really compare him, and I’m always careful to use the comparison because he doesn’t compare to Drew, he’s the only one,” Ireland said. “But there are some similarities that make you feel like, OK, maybe he can play similarly to that person. And you thought, OK, well you got another short quarterback in the league, you got Bryce Young. He just got picked first in the draft. What if Jake’s in that offense [at Alabama]? I just think, hypothetically, Jake would have success if he’s at Alabama. So we tossed a lot of these things around, like the idea of having a young developmental quarterback learn a new system with Derek [Carr] and Jameis [Winston]. So that’s just a smart business move, in our opinion. We felt like that was a smart move to get a young player in there to develop. We just want to see him develop in a system where we feel like it’s going to be successful, learn from two guys that have been doing this and battled as starters in this league. We feel like that’s smart business.”

If Haener can earn that comparison to Brees, drafting him in the fourth round will prove to be very smart business.