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New Orleans Saints missed on Caleb Farley, take Payton Turner with first-round pick

Sep 8, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars defensive lineman Payton Turner (98) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 8, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars defensive lineman Payton Turner (98) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Orleans Saints were heavily rumored to be a team that potentially trades up. That didn’t happen. The price must have been too steep for them to aim higher for an instant-impact player like Caleb Farley.

With the 28th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints took Payton Turner, a defensive lineman from Houston. Turner’s energy and explosiveness are likely what sold the Saints. Injury could be a concern, but he’s an impressive prospect.

The New Orleans Saints missed trading up and instead hung on to their No. 28 overall pick. With it, they took Houston DL Payton Turner.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound lineman will give the Saints a new presence alongside Marcus Davenport and Cameron Jordan. It’s a position they needed after losing Sheldon Rankins this offseason.

To say this pick wasn’t a surprise would be a lie. But, the Saints are the kings of going with personnel that they need that doesn’t always seem to make sense. Turner should be able to be an instant impact player, starting on the defensive front.

At Houston, he totaled 25 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, and 5.0 sacks as a senior. He played just five games though which is part of the problem. Turner had solid seasons as a sophomore and junior. His performance at the senior bowl may have been what sold the Saints on him.

From the perspective of a fan, this move doesn’t quite make much sense. After looking to trade up, the Saints reach for an interior defensive lineman. They could’ve had Asante Samuel Jr. or Elijah Moore, two players that could be key threats for them.

As we’ve seen in full circle, Mickey Loomis knows what he’s doing. Now, New Orleans must have also known that Turner wouldn’t have lasted on the board or they could’ve looked to trade up with their second-round pick.

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Either way, Turner is a Saint now and has huge shoes to fill. He’ll be warmly welcomed into the Big Easy!

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