In what Fresno State’s Jake Haener says is a “dream come true,” the pass-slinging quarterback is headed to the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints traded up in the fourth round of the NFL draft to grab Haener with the 127th overall pick on Saturday.
Not only will Haener be in the same QB room as all-time Fresno State great Derek Carr, but his first NFL opportunity comes with the team he rooted for as a kid.
“The Saints were my childhood growing up because I loved watching No. 9 (Drew Brees) plays. It’s just so unbelievable,” Haener said at his introductory Saints news conference. “I literally wore Brees jerseys, I wore Saints beanies. Having the opportunity to go play in New Orleans is going to be a dream come true.”
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As Haener further explained it, he wore No. 9 in high school and college in a tribute to Brees — his favorite QB — and he later broke down some of Brees’ 2019 game film with the future Hall of Famer, saintswire.com reported.
Haener said that Carr was one of the first to congratulate him on getting drafted by the Saints. He added that Carr was a “sounding board” for him throughout his college career.
“He told me that if I ever needed anything, he would be there for me,” Haener said of his relationship with Carr after he transferred to Fresno State from Washington.
How cool is this fact? Jake Haener wore No. 9 growing up because he was a huge Drew Brees & #Saints fan. He got to work with Brees in the past. @jakehaener10 also got a head start on the playbook having worked with Ronald Curry at the @seniorbowl (2nd answer)
More on that below: pic.twitter.com/SmeVDNcWyP
— Brooke Kirchhofer (@brookechesney) April 29, 2023
The Saints will head into their 2023 season camp with Carr as the starter and former starter Jameis Winston as the No. 2 QB. Winston reworked his contract last month so that he could return to the Saints. That will give the Saints a year to evaluate Haener and prep him for the backup role should Winston leave at the end of the season.
New Orleans also has Taysom Hill, the tight end/QB/running back who has been highly productive as the NFL’s “Human Swiss Army Knife.”
Carr signed a four-year contract with the Saints worth up to $150 million in March. That move came after a messy divorce from the Las Vegas Raiders, with which he set many franchise passing records.