The New Orleans Saints selected Paulson Adebo in the 2021 NFL Draft but they actually took him in the third round out of Stanford. Their first-round pick was spent on Payton Turner out of Houston, who appeared in just five games.
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report re-drafted the 2021 NFL Draft and had Adebo going No. 27 overall to the Baltimore Ravens. This, of course, is one pick before NOLA was on the clock.
Knox offered this analysis:
"Adebo’s durability is the big selling point. Had Baltimore fielded a quality starter for the entire season, it might have stood a chance of sneaking into the playoffs. Lamar Jackson suffered a season-ending ankle injury Dec. 12, and the Ravens lost six straight to finish the year, including five-plus games without their star QB. Four of those losses were by a field goal or less."
Knox’s biggest reason for sending Adebo to Baltimore is that their secondary was decimated by injuries during the 2021 season. Adebo was healthy during the course of his rookie year and while that wouldn’t be a guarantee had he landed with the Ravens, he could have been the difference-maker for a Baltimore squad that narrowly missed the playoffs.
Saints CB Paulson Adebo jumps up the 2021 draft board
Adebo was a tremendous value pick for New Orleans in last year’s draft but unfortunately, their first-round pick didn’t do much. That’s not to say that Turner can’t end up showing why he was a round one selection but it’s also not surprising to see NOLA go in a different direction in this re-draft.
Instead of Turner, the Saints went with Miami’s Gregory Rousseau.
"While Rousseau played just 49 percent of the defensive snaps, he started all 17 games for Buffalo. He finished with 50 tackles, four passes defended, an interception, a forced fumble, four sacks and 24 quarterback pressures.Turner could still develop into a great pass-rusher. Seeing as how New Orleans narrowly missed the playoffs in Sean Payton’s final season, however, it goes with the pass-rusher who stayed healthy."
As Knox mentioned, Rousseau went two picks later to Buffalo and didn’t see a massive amount of playing time but he was healthy and that’s the biggest difference here. He’d have been a huge playmaker in NOLA’s ferocious defense last season.
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It’s interesting to see Adebo go in the first round but not to see the New Orleans Saints opt for someone other than Payton Turner in round one of the 2021 NFL Draft.