Analyzing the Saints’ first-round selection of Payton Turner
Saints Future Outlook
Many were surprised to see the Saints select an edge rusher, but it’s easy to understand their process.
This is a position that can have a noticeable learning curve, so you’d be better off not relying on the prospect until the second season. Sometimes, as we saw in Trey Hendrickson, that developmental curve can take even longer.
Fortunately for Turner, he’s in an excellent position to develop. Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport make out a strong edge rush duo, but New Orleans likes to rotate their pass rushers, so Turner immediately slots into Hendrickson’s departed role. In fact, the two are almost identical from a size perspective. From there, the hope would be that he can develop into a player capable of shouldering the load.
Edge rusher is a position that gets paid a premium on the open market, and the Saints don’t exactly have a lot of resources.
Davenport has yet to supplement his overall efficiency with accumulation, while Jordan will be 32 years old next season. You don’t draft for immediate needs, and Turner can definitely factor into their future plans.
This isn’t the typical way that many look at the draft, but really, the goal is to draft the most valuable prospect to improve your future outlook; rookie production is rather unpredictable and generally underwhelming.
This is a process the organization demonstrated in last year’s draft, and I expect that it is their plan again this year.