Diving deeper into the Saints’ 2021 NFL Draft class

New Orleans Saints (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11) – Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11) – Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

Saints Draft: Round 3, Pick 76 (via DEN) – CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford

The Saints trading up in a draft isn’t a possibility, it’s an inevitability. They had to wait until the third round, yet with cornerback Paulson Adebo available, they quickly surrounded an additional third-round pick to move up 23 spots to select the Stanford cornerback. That’s quite the lofty price to pay, demonstrating their infatuation for Adebo.

Fortunately, Adebo is a prospect that I would expect them to be infatuated in. In an article I wrote for mvpsportstalk.com, here is what I had to say about Adebo:

"I’m struggling to see the downside of Adebo. His tackling numbers aren’t great, but if you’re drafting a cornerback for his run defense, that’s a problem in it of itself. He seems to be a victim of recency bias, as he opted out of the 2020 season, and if that’s the case, then a lucky team will be able to select him with a late third-round pick. It may seem crazy that a player like this is getting enough recognition, but, remember, third-round pick Cameron Dantzler and fourth-round pick L’Jarius Sneed were the top-two graded rookie cornerbacks this season! I wouldn’t be surprised if Adebo has a similar impact for whoever drafts him.”"

This is praise that I did not give out lightly for the Stanford product. The Saints love their athletic defenders, and Adebo’s length and speed definitely check all of the boxes there. Then, you add in that he has multiple high-end seasons of production, and there is a lot to like. Ball production is very stable from college to pro, so to see Adebo consistently break up passes is very encouraging. Really, had he not opted out, we’d likely be talking about him at least one round higher than he was ultimately selected.

According to my model, one of Adebo’s comparisons are quite encouraging: former Bengals cornerback William Jackson III, who just signed a $42 million deal with Washington. There are some other ones, such as Gareon Conley, that are less optimistic, but the track record of cornerbacks with strong ball production accumulating to the NFL level is very strong. I’m not in love with the cost of the trade, but Adebo is an excellent prospect and someone who fits in greatly with the Saints moving forward.

Grade: B (A+ without trade up)

Model Rank: 58th (-16)