The Saints believe in drafting the big man, early. And, proved it again in the first round of Thursday night’s NFL draft.
New Orleans selecting Houston defensive end Payton Turner may have been a surprise, but the Saints selecting a lineman with their first round pick or their first pick is standard practice since 2017.
Here’s the Saints last five first or first round picks in the draft.
2017 – 1st round – offensive tackle Ryan Ramcyzk
2018 – 1st round – defensive end Marcus Davenport
2019 – 2nd round – center Erik McCoy
2020 – 1st round – center/guard Cesar Ruiz
2021 – 1st round – defensive end Payton Turner
Quality lineman are almost never available in free agency, and if they are, the price point is usually quite high. Best to draft them, so the Saints do.
Turner is an interesting pick. He has size and wingspan, and is very athletic. It will be curious to see how quickly the Saints can bring him along.
What’s interesting is, on the day the club announced they were picking up Marcus Davenport’s 5th year option, the Saints drafted his potential replacement.
Davenport, who the Saints acquired for two first round picks, is in a contract year, and must produce.
If not, 2021 might be his last with the Saints. This offseason, the Saints chose not to bring back 2016 first round pick Sheldon Rankins back.
So, there are no guarantees. As Payton Turner learns, Marcus Davenport may be on the clock.