The first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft was full of surprises, as some players fell down draft boards while others were taken higher than anticipated. The New Orleans Saints took one of these “high-risers,” as they selected former Houston defensive end Payton Turner with the No. 28 overall pick.
On Thursday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that several NFL executives believed Turner could be selected in the first round due to his character, medicals and length. Turner recorded 25 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in just five games played for the Cougars last season. He missed two games due to injury, however, which actually might have had something to do with his stock rising in the eleventh hour.
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Earlier on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that medical info was still coming in, and that teams were scrambling to get a complete look at these prospects. It’s possible something came in today concerning Turner’s previous injuries that put a major concern of his to rest.
As for his fit with the Saints, Turner fits nicely in this 4-3 scheme. New Orleans does have Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport as the presumed starters, but with the former turning 32 in July and the latter having questions about his potential, Turner definitely has the potential to put some pressure on these players — as well as on quarterbacks.