ED-itorial: Do the Saints deserve benefit of the doubt with first round pick?


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NEW ORLEANS — Payton turner?  

It was a bit of head scratcher for a lot of folks Thursday night when the Saints selected the Houston defensive end in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

My first thought was “what a reach.”

My second thought was well, the Saints have been pretty good at this for several years, maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

This I know for sure – if I am Marcus Davenport, I am motivated.

Because, if Davenport doesn’t have a big year, in the final year of his rookie contract, the Saints have his replacement on board.

Sean Payton said that Turner will “earn his reps” in a rotation this season.

But, in year two, depending on what happens with Davenport, Turner’s role could increase, greatly.

So, as quarterbacks and cornerbacks went off the board – the Saints did not trade up.

They selected a player that many had as a second rounder – maybe even a third.

Maybe they didn’t see what Sean Payton did.

The Saints got a long look at Turner at the Senior Bowl.

Turner , is six six, with a huge win span.

In five games, four starts in 2020, Turner had fives sacks, including two against Tulane in an October game in Houston.

Coach Payton said Turner was just a player who would catch your eye.

“I felt when we saw it,” said the Saints head coach. “We turned on the lights in the room and saw what are we missing?”

The Saints see Turner as a high motor guy – with plenty of upside.

Turner said he saw the self improvement last season.

“I improved a lot. and, I showed what I can do this senior season,” he claimed. “The past year, 2020 – there were some bumps in the road, but I showed a glimpse of what I can do with one off-season learning the position.”

Turner said he spoke to the Saints, but he didn’t think they were one of the top five teams showing interest.

But, now that he’s a Saint, he’s all in.

“Who dat baby!,” exclaimed the rookie.

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