New Orleans Saints’ Payton Turner could be due for a breakout season in 2022 — as long as he stays healthy. What is Turner capable of in Year 2?
The 2021 surprise first-round pick suffered injury after injury last season, missing stretches of preseason and the regular season as well.
Turner was touted as a promising albeit unexpected high draft selection and enjoyed solid pass-rush production in college. In the NFL, Turner was quick to make his mark, debuting against the Carolina Panthers and recording a sack, three tackles for loss, and five quarterback pressures.
Turner suffered a shoulder injury during Week 9 that sidelined him for the rest of the season and ended his rookie campaign having played just five games.
2022 offers much more hope for Turner in potentially securing a starting role, but can he stay healthy?
Sports Illustrated’s Bob Rose recently wrote about Turner’s breakout potential:
"An athletic wonder at 6’6” and 270-Lbs., much more will be expected from the 24-year-old Turner in his second season. He was able to play both inside and along the edge in college, something that we saw a sample of in 2021.Injuries made first-round pick Turner sort of a forgotten member of what looks like a successful draft haul. After a brief view of what he could do as a rookie, don’t be surprised to see a monstrous season from Turner in 2022."
New Orleans Saints expect great things from Payton Turner in 2022
Turner will certainly get the chance to impress in a solid but not spectacular defensive end unit of Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport, and Carl Granderson.
While Jordan clearly leads the pack in experience and consistency, Davenport and Granderson haven’t yet lived up to their potential, and they’ve been around longer than Turner.
Turner still needs to develop as a run defender and hone his pass-rushing moves, but he possesses the physical build, speed, and skill to make a tremendous impact throughout the entire season.
The Saints’ 2021 draft class has already shown promise in the impressive Year 1 performances by Pete Werner and Paulson Adebo, and this season could be Payton Turner’s time to shine.
It certainly helps that Turner plays for a potential top-10 defense, so he’ll be training with the best in the months leading up to the season.
It’s still too early to tell whether Turner will boom or bust, but 2022 will be a crucial watershed year for him nonetheless.