NFL Draft 2021: Saints surprise with DE Payton Turner at No. 28

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

With a lot of surprises within the draft night, one of the late surprises came from Houston defensive end Payton Turner.

Turner was a three-year starter for the Cougars while struggling with durability during his senior season. Turner was not expected by many to make the leap to the first round, yet the Saints took a chance at No.28.

During his career in Houston, Turner accumulated 114 tackles, 23.5 for loss, and 9.5 sacks.

It was a position of need for the Saints, as the starting spot opposite of Cameron Jordan is available for competition.

There are many different directions the Saints could’ve gone in and for a team that went 12-4 last year, it’s uncommon, especially with their defense that finished fifth in points allowed a season ago.

His question marks for me is whether he can translate, with rather underwhelming production, considering the competition Turner faced.

Turner does have a high motor and fits the Saints 4-3 defensive system. Turner has good go-to moves, but his pass rush needs some fine-tuning. Overall, Turner is a surprise prospect but is one that is willing to take a risk so late in the draft.

Turner shows good starter skills and will need a few years of learning and ironing, before finding out what he truly is.

Grade: C+

Considering the talent left on the board, there are other positions and available options, that could’ve benefited the Saints more. However, Turner can be the right move, after a few years in the Saints’ system.

Next. Way-too-early preseason Top 25 projections for 2021. dark