With needs at positions like corner and linebacker, the New Orleans Saints instead decided to go defensive end in the 2021 NFL Draft, selecting Houston EDGE Payton Turner.
Turner racked up 67 total pressures and 10 sacks in four seasons with the Cougars.
He started to turn the corner and became a real force in 2019, and took it to another level in 2020 despite missing some games.
In only 103 pass rush snaps in 2020, he recorded 11 pressures and five sacks, to go along with a career-high 90.0 PFF pass rush grade and a very good 16.8% pass rush win rate. And the year before, he put up a respectable 33 pressures and four sacks.
A true edge defender, he combines his ridiculously long arms (35.38”) with some great agility for a 6-foot-6, 270 pound guy to swipe through and around opposing tackles. He also has great explosion off the line of scrimmage.
This move provides some competition for Marcus Davenport, who will be in a contract year in 2020, while also replacing Trey Hendrickson’s production.
It might not be the pick Saints fans were hoping for, but Turner is a very talented player.
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