With Asante Samuel Jr. still on the board, the New Orleans Saints wasted no time adding Houston defensive end Payton Turner. No one is ready to write Turner off, but it was a mysterious pick to say the least.
Considering the Saints just exercised their fifth-year option on former first-round pick Marcus Davenport, the team doesn’t really have a long-term need at defensive end like they do at cornerback.
The New Orleans Saints took Payton Turner with the 28th-overall pick, a selection they could’ve likely made in the second round.
Cam Jordan is the face of the defense. He’s not going anywhere. If Davenport is healthy, a calculated risk the Saints should’ve taken, there would’ve been no need on the edge. On top of those two, the team also has Carl Granderson and former Chiefs DE Tanoh Kpassagnon.
That’s four capable defensive ends. Either they do not trust the combination of Granderson and Davenport, or they trust the combination of Patrick Robinson and P.J. Williams as the team’s No. 2 cornerback more than most would’ve thought.
Regardless, Turner should be a solid addition, just one that is also considered one of the biggest reaches of the first round. During his four seasons at Houston, Turner racked in 114 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks.
A massive 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, Turner has the intangibles to be a great asset on the defensive line, but as with Davenport, he needs to stay able to be on the field. Turner played just five games his final season at Houston.
As we saw with Caleb Farley, injuries scare teams. Turner was considered a late-second, early-third-round pick. The team could’ve taken a player like Samuel Jr. and then traded up just a few spots in the second round for Turner if they felt he wouldn’t have fallen.
More defensive ends were taken off the board in the final five picks of the first round then the first 27, so the Saints ushered in a spree of pass rushers to hear their names called. They feel they got the most dynamic one, but time will tell.
Nonetheless, it seemed like Turner was set for a freefall in the draft, and the Saints, with many other needs, didn’t need to make him a first-round pick. Hopefully, he dominates in the Big Easy, but there’s no denying a cornerback seemed like a better move given the team’s current state.
The Saints could’ve waited on Turner. At least after seeing his pre-draft stock, it feels like this was an unnecessary addition with such a valuable pick.