The New Orleans Saints put the beatdown on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon but their rookie class didn’t have much to do with the blowout win. The only rookie who took the field in any capacity was third-round pick Paulson Adebo, who played 100% of the snaps.
Adebo wasn’t initially going to be a starter but with the sudden retirement of Patrick Robinson, injuries to Ken Crawley, Marshon Lattimore, and Brian Poole and newcomer Bradley Roby missing the first game due to suspension, there weren’t many other options to put out there. Adebo made the most of his opportunity, picking off Aaron Rodgers — the reigning MVP — in his first-ever NFL game. Not bad, rook.
As for the rest of the NOLA Saints rookie class, they weren’t on the field for one reason or another.
Payton Turner, the team’s first-rounder, was inactive after sustaining an injury during training camp and not getting on the field much since then. Turner’s selection was surprising considering the Saints have a similar player in the form of Marcus Davenport but this was very much a wake-up call for Davenport and he’s risen to the occasion.
Pete Werner, the second-rounder out of Ohio State, didn’t see the field either. The linebacker competition in New Orleans is stout, making it difficult for Werner to find his way onto the gridiron, though he hopefully will down the road.
The other rookies not playing wasn’t surprising. Ian Book made the active roster but was inactive for the game due to the Saints being well-stacked at the quarterback position. Had he been active, it’s possible he’d have found his way into the game due things being out of reach.
Landon Young made the team as well but even with an injury to Erik McCoy, he didn’t get into the game. Calvin Throckmorton filled in at right guard while Young will continue to sit and learn on the sideline.
Kawaan Baker didn’t play because he’s on the practice squad. Hopefully, we see the Southern Alabama product at some point but it won’t be anytime soon, especially with the recent addition of Kenny Stills.
Adebo didn’t hear his name called until the third round but out of the six Saints rookies, he’s the only one who played in Week 1 of the 2021 season.