Saints go in different direction in redraft of 2021 NFL Draft

Kwity Paye (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Kwity Paye (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints surprised people with their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, selecting Payton Turner out of Houston.

Now maybe Turner goes on to be a star but his rookie season left fans feeling underwhelmed and as if the team wasted the first-round pick, especially with Elijah Moore still on the board at that time.

Well, in a redraft of last year’s draft by Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network, NOLA stuck with the defense when making their pick but this time, went with Kwity Paye of Michigan.

"A grown man along the front four, Paye wreaked havoc in opposing backfields in 15 appearances. While his sack numbers (4.0) don’t jump off the screen, he remained twofold to the Colts placing themselves in a position to punch their ticket to the playoffs."

Saints avoid Payton Turner, land Kwity Paye in redraft of 2021 draft

In reality, Paye went 21st overall to the Colts so he wasn’t available when the Saints did make their pick. The Michigan product appeared in 10 more games than Turner and was a big piece in their defense.

The biggest changes in this mock were where the quarterbacks landed. Trevor Lawrence still ended up in Jacksonville but Mac Jones went to the Jets and Justin Fields landed with the 49ers. Zach Wilson fell all the way down to No. 11, ending up in Chicago while Trey Lance went to the Patriots at pick No. 15.

We also saw a lot of guys not even selected in the first round going much higher. Chiefs center Creed Humphrey ended up going 12th overall to the Cowboys and he was a second round pick. Trey Smith, another Chiefs offensive lineman, somehow fell all the way to the sixth round but in this redraft, he went No. 23 overall.

Going back to the Saints though, Paye might not have put up eye-popping numbers but he’d have been a bigger piece in the defense than Turner was. At the very least, Paye was healthy, which wasn’t the case for Turner.

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Fans are still holding out hope for Turner to become a solid contributor but after one season, no one is surprised to see New Orleans taking a different approach in redrafts.