The last time I talked to Drew Brees, we were in Orlando at the NFL Players Association meetings in late March, and the conversation inevitably turned to Darren Sproles, whom the New Orleans Saints had traded to the Philadelphia Eagles a few days earlier.

Brees, the Saints’ star quarterback, lamented the loss of Sproles then, calling him a “once in a lifetime player.” So, when I talked to Brees again on Tuesday, I had to ask: has the offseason provided answers on how the Saints will replace their dynamic halfback?

While Brees was quick to note again that “I don’t think you just replace a Darren Sproles,” he gave a nod to the top four backs on the depth chart – then brought up the Saints’ top draft pick, speedy receiver Brandin Cooks, who could be earmarked for big things as a rookie.

“Even though Darren Sproles played the running back position, we were creative with him,” Brees told USA TODAY Sports. “We did a lot of things with him out of the backfield. We’d split him out. We’d throw him screens. We’d do all kinds of stuff with him. So, that role can be filled by maybe even a receiver.

“Hey, we go out in the draft and get a guy in Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State – an explosive player, great speed, great talent, tremendous young man, loves to learn, loves the game of football. … From all indications, this guy can do a lot of things for us, and he’s eager to fill a role that we need him to on offense.”