The New Orleans Saints stayed put last Thursday during the first round of the NFL Draft and selected Houston defensive end Payton Turner with the No. 28 overall pick. However, leading up to the start of the event, reports leaked out that the organization was interested in making a major move up the board.
Saints head coach Sean Payton confirmed those rumors this week and also revealed exactly what New Orleans was looking for in a top 10 pick. He pointed to one position in particular: a cornerback.
“It was pretty simple. There were a couple players that we’d move up for, but for us we have a ‘must’ at corner,” Payton said in an interview on the Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday. “So we had two corners graded — both [Jaycee] Horn and [Patrick] Surtain — with real high grades. And very quickly, early in the week, it’s pretty common for teams to say, ‘Hey, we have an interest.’ Everyone’s basically open for business.
“But ultimately, there wasn’t a team wanting to move out of the first 10 picks. And so, I think that lasted all of a half an hour maybe, the morning of reaching out to these teams. And the cost would’ve been, if we found a trade partner, too high. So at that point, our feeling was, it’s going to come to us at 28 so let’s make sure we have our cloud of players ready. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Rumors swirled before the #NFLDraft about possible #Saints moves and who they were targeting, so we asked @SeanPayton what the strategy was heading into the big night in Cleveland:#NFL @Saints pic.twitter.com/sZQ06yPDUm
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 5, 2021
Horn and Surtain came off the board at No. 8 to the Carolina Panthers and No. 9 to the Denver Broncos respectively, leaving the Saints without a strong cornerback option late in the round. Caleb Farley and Greg Newsome also went before New Orleans was on the clock, leaving Turner as the team’s highest evaluated option.
The Saints took Paulson Adebo in the third round on Friday, but may not have fully addressed their hole at cornerback. Sean Payton will have a lot of work to do at the position this spring before the start of a new season.
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