It came later than expected, but the New Orleans Saints finally traded up in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Saints moved up to 76th overall in a deal with the Denver Broncos to draft cornerback Paulson Adebo. They gave up both of their third round picks (selections 98 and 105) to land the corner.
A former wide receiver at 6’1” and 198 pounds, Adebo projects to fit right in with the Saints’ defense as a talented playmaker with prototypical size.
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Adebo played for the Stanford Cardinals in college, and he joins a draft that’s been all-defense for the Saints so far. Defensive end Payton Turner was taken in the first round, while linebacker Pete Werner was taken in the second.
Adebo is the rare cornerback who has marked stats to back up his play. In 2018 and 2019 (he was a 2020 opt-out), He had eight interceptions and 27 passes defensed. He also primarily played left cornerback in college, which is a massive need for the Saints opposite Marshon Lattimore.
While Adebo may not end up being a Day 1 starter for the Saints, the potential is clearly there. Ultimately, after a head-scratching first round pick, the Saints clearly have had a plan coming into Day 2. Adding Adebo addresses a big need for the Saints. It’s also very on-brand for the Saints to make a move like this in the third round, where they like to target their sleeper picks.
Cardinal coach Brian Shaw said that Adebo has the hands of a receiver, which would be welcome on the Saints defense. The ability to force turnovers has been hit or miss for the Saints, so Adebo can potentially fill that void.
Whether or need Adebo ends up being a Day 1 starter, cornerback was a massive need for the Saints, so it’s good to have someone waiting in the wings. With his build and his playmaking abilities, expect to see Adebo eased into the defense early and often for the New Orleans.
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