New Orleans Saints Rookie #2: Payton Turner
Okay, so Payton Turner didn’t get his own individual highlight photo in the Panthers game. He still made a huge difference in the pass-rushing unit.
After sitting out of the Saints’ season opener, Turner showed he was one of New Orleans’ most promising rookies in Week 2. As a whole, the Saints’ defense recorded seven tackles for loss. Turner was responsible for three of them.
And no big deal, but he bagged his first sack, too.
Turner played in 41 percent of the Saints’ defensive snaps and 32 percent of special teams snaps, recording five combined tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, and one quarterback hit.
He’s currently tied with Baltimore Ravens’ edge rusher Odafe Oweh for the fourth-most quarterback pressures (4) in the 2021 rookie class. Turner is also one of five first-year defensive linemen to notch a sack by Week 2, and PFF ranked his pass-rush productivity as second-best in the league at 13.2.
And this was his very first game in the NFL.
Turner’s inexperience got him called for a few costly penalties early in the game, but by the second half, he was explosive at the line of scrimmage against left tackle Cameron Erving and caused serious problems for the Panthers O-line.
If Turner continues improving at this rate and cleans up some of his sloppy errors, he’ll take over Davenport’s job in no time. He’ll have to keep up his efficiency next game against the Patriots, and the game after that, and pretty much every game for the rest of the season, but his debut on Sunday gave us all a glimpse at the kind of dynamic defender Turner could be.
We all hoped Turner would be heir to the Saints’ pass-rushing throne. Now we know he’s ready for it.