Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Saints’ Sean Payton impressed by 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Kyle Juszczyk, Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman

Dec 4, 2019 at 1:01 PM--

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton jumped on a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. He was asked specifically about quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, and cornerback Richard Sherman, and his thoughts on each.

Payton has been impressed with all five 49ers players. Below is what he had to say about each.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Payton and Garoppolo were both quarterbacks at Eastern Illinois (obviously, decades apart), so the Saints coach knew about the 49ers quarterback when he was coming out of college and evaluated him heading into the 2014 draft.

Payton had a chance to evaluate Garoppolo further when the Saints would train with the New England Patriots, and the two even share the same agent.

"He's playing very well," Payton said. "He's playing extremely well, and he's someone who's extremely accurate. The ball gets out of his hands quick. He's athletic in the pocket where he can move and still make off-balance throws. I think the one thing you look for in that position is, can he win? And clearly he's done that at the college level, and he's doing that now at the NFL level."

George Kittle

"His run after the catch, and his ability to separate, and also block, certainly puts him at the elite level in this league right now, and he's fun to watch," Payton said.

Kyle Juszczyk

"He's exceptionally smart," Payton said. "He's extremely productive. Whatever he's doing, he does it well. He's athletic. He can catch. Clearly he's been (one of) the top, if not the top, fullback in our league because he does so many things well. He can play off the ball. He can play in the backfield. He's got fantastic football instincts. He's fantastic as a fullback, and when you watch their tape, and you understand what they're doing in the running game, and you understand some of the subtle adjustments that Kyle deals with when a front moves, or support or a gap change, he never surprises you and always seems to be doing the right thing."

Nick Bosa

"You see an explosive athlete," Payton said. "You see power. You see edge speed. You see someone, especially for a young player, who uses his hands extremely well. He's played outstanding."

Richard Sherman

"You get everything with this player, along with his instincts, his understanding of formations, leverage," Payton said. "He knows the defense cold, and in his man technique, it looks outstanding. I think his film has been extremely impressive."

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