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The New Orleans Saints have taken a close look at the top quarterbacks in the draft for several years now, both in official visits and private workouts. 

For what it's worth, it sounds like this draft cycle will be no different.

New Orleans plans to work out Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield in Norman during the draft process, a source confirmed to The Advocate on Thursday. 

Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko reported the news first. 

The Saints also held a formal interview with Mayfield, along with most of the top quarterback prospects, at the NFL scouting combine last week, and New Orleans coach Sean Payton tweeted a joke at Mayfield while he was still in Indianapolis. 

Mayfield has already said repeatedly how big an influence Drew Brees has had on the Heisman Trophy winner's career, and at the Super Bowl, he said he'd love the chance to learn under Brees, who is expected to sign a new contract to extend his time in New Orleans soon. 

Most experts predict that Mayfield will be gone before the Saints pick at No. 27, but New Orleans plans to evaluate everybody thoroughly, even though the pick isn't close to the top of the round and the Saints don't appear to have the bevy of picks it normally takes to make a big leap in the first round. 

"You really have to still grade the draft and put value on every one of these names, and regardless of whether you think you’re going to be in position to draft that name, because there’s a lot of things that can happen and all of a sudden there it is," Saints coach Sean Payton said about the philosophy of grading all players last week. "That’s the approach we take."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.

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