The New Orleans Saints spent the 28th overall pick on Payton Turner in the 2021 NFL Draft and the consensus at the time was that they reached on him. The Houston defensive end wasn’t a big name coming into the draft, so why did New Orleans feel the need to take him so high?
This isn’t the first time they’ve done this either. They traded up to draft Marcus Davenport in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft and while Davenport has played well this season, the pick was not looking good until recently.
While Turner hasn’t been terrible, he’s been injury-prone as a rookie. He’s appeared in just five games so far and landed on the IR last week, keeping him out for at least the next two games. Even when he’s been on the field, Turner hasn’t seen more than half of the snaps on defense once this season.
This isn’t what teams are expecting when they take a guy in the first round. With Turner looking like a disappointment so far, let’s take a look at seven players the Saints could have landed who would have packed a punch on this team, as they’re doing with their current teams.
We’ll list them in the order they were taken after the Saints selected Turner.
Odafe Oweh (Drafted 31st overall by the Ravens)
Three picks after the Saints took Payton Turner, the Ravens — with Kansas City’s pick — selected Penn State product, Odafe Oweh and the kid has been outstanding as a rookie. So far, he’s tallied 18 tackles, 11 QB hits, and four sacks through his nine games and one start.
The Saints could have used Oweh’s pass-rushing presence, especially considering they don’t have much help in that department. Marcus Davenport has provided some help there but when he was out for a month with an injury, sacks and pressure were hard to come by for this Saints D.
Oweh would have helped in that department big time and he was still on the board when the Saints went with Turner instead.