The New Orleans Saints stayed true to prototype and bolstered their trenches by selecting the Houston defensive end Payton Turner with the 28th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Initially unpopular (and unpredicted) among Saints fans, the 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds prospect is exactly the type of player New Orleans has a history of selecting in the first round.
The decision to select Turner is also highly indicative of a hesitance to stray from prototype in a year lacking in film and proper measurables. Moreover, the team’s first selection in every draft since 2015 has either been a defensive or offensive lineman; this year proved no different. Notably, Turner’s Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.74 reinforces a notion detailed by NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill: football intelligence is paramount. The Saints are drawn to prospects with RAS scores of 9.00 or higher.
Another compelling trend to analyze as we turn to Round 2 is the team’s propensity to select players out of the Big Ten and SEC conferences. Out of the 28 players drafted by the Saints since 2016, 14 of these players came from these conferences. Let’s see if an analysis of these trends helps shape the predictions for the team’s selections in Round 2 of the draft.