Ten years have passed since Sean Payton completed one of the more impressive draft classes in NFL history, making a phone call to a former boss to help him decide on picking 10-year veteran lineman Zach Strief in the seventh round.

That was just the start.

Payton in more recent years has used his contacts throughout college football to help decide which players to select in the NFL Draft, sometimes using their trusted evaluations to break a tie between multiple options.

They helped with the first-round picks from the last two years, first with offensive lineman Andrus Peat and then with defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins. They also helped with the selection of two former Ohio State players, receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell, both in the second round Friday.

"I think it's part of the process," Payton said of consulting with those coaches.

In the case of Rankins, Payton said Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham helped with the assessment of the player the Saints selected with the No. 12 overall pick in the draft.

Grantham also helped with the selection of nose tackle John Jenkins in the third round of the 2013 draft from when Grantham coached him at Georgia. Grantham also coached Damian Swann, a fifth-round drafted cornerback in 2015, for the first three of his four seasons with the Bulldogs.