New Orleans Saints draft Houston Defensive End Payton Turner in the first round
Hours before the first round of the NFL Draft, ESPN came out with a report on Houston Defensive End Payton Turner as a high riser and a potential first round pick, according to several league executives.
Now either the New Orleans Saints read that report or more than likely they’re part of the reason that report was written in the first place.
With the 28th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Saints selected Turner, a 6’5”, 270-pound edge rusher for the Cougars.
That makes it seven straight years the Saints have used their first round pick on either an offensive or defensive lineman.
As a two-star recruit out of high school, Turner is the proverbial late bloomer and only played five games in 2020 due to COVID-19 and injuries.
But in the five games Turner did play last season, he certainly made them count, recording 25 tackles, ten and a half of those for loss, and five sacks.
Here’s the man of the hour and his new head coach on the Saints’ newest player. Head Coach Sean Payton said, “A lot of traits that we value. He was a high energy player, his prototype, his size. We really had this player as someone that you couldn’t help but notice, the makeup was good. And you don’t go into a draft necessarily sometimes saying hey, this was a position – you’re really paying attention to the talent. And what I mean by that is it might not have appeared to have been a player at a position we would want, but there were too many things that we felt gave this guy a lot of chances to be successful in our league.”
Turner said, “It’s crazy. I can’t even describe it now. Ecstatic. Relief. It’s just a dream come true. It doesn’t really happen to too many people very often that their dream comes true and then just for me, to have my dream come true like that, it’s just really special for me. I mean I’m on Cloud 9. I can’t put it any other way besides that.”
One of the guys vouching for Turner is USM Head Coach Will Hall who went up against Turner when he was offensive coordinator at Tulane.
Turner recorded four-and-a-half tackles for loss and two sacks that game and Hall says “He dominated us. We could not block him.”