NFL Draft 2021 Review: New Orleans Saints

Adrian Holman

The New Orleans Saints appeared to be on their way towards a possible Super Bowl bid in quarterback Drew Brees' last season after winning the National Football Conference (NFC) South Division with a 12-4 record, but those aspirations were dashed when they could not defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a third time in the NFC Playoffs.

Now that Brees is retired, the team chemistry will be even better now after letting everyone know that his First Amendment rights were way more important than the First Amendment rights of other players on his own team.

However, the biggest issue for the Saints is the overall depth for the team. The starters all play at a high-caliber level, but injuries to key players throughout the season exposed the vulnerabilities that were exploited in their loss in the playoffs. Let us take a look at if New Orleans were able to fill those voids by analyzing who the Saints selected in this year's National Football League (NFL) Draft.

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Round 1, Pick 28: Payton Turner - DE - Houston (6'5", 270 lbs). Turner only played in half of the games last season for the Cougars, but he was rather productive with 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. His statistics show that he makes multiple impact plays every game. Turner will add important pass-rushing depth to the defensive end rotation.

Round 2, Pick 28: Pete Werner - LB - Ohio State (6'3", 238 lbs). Werner led the Buckeyes with 54 tackles. Plus, he has the versatility to play either at inside linebacker or at outside linebacker, which means that he will add depth to the linebacker position for the Saints.

Round 3, Pick 12: Paulson Adebo - CB - Stanford (6'1", 198 lbs). Adebo dropped in this NFL Draft because he opted not to play last season, but he should have went higher because Stanford's secondary was atrocious without him. His productivity in 2019 was outstanding with four interceptions and 10 pass breakups. The Saints needed to draft a high-level cornerback because New Orleans lockdown corner Marshon Lattimore was arrested for possessing a stolen gun during the offseason. Lattimore could possibly miss the entire season due to this legal issue. You're a millionaire; buy your own guns.

Round 4, Pick 28: Ian Book - QB - Notre Dame (6'0", 211 lbs). Book lands in a good spot because he will be given time to develop behind Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. He has solid game management skills with only three interceptions last season. He is a dual threat because he threw for 15 touchdowns and also ran for 9 touchdowns in 2020.

Round 6, Pick 22: Landon Young - OT - Kentucky (6'6", 310 lbs). Young played his entire college career at left tackle, but he could possibly be moved to either the right tackle position or the guard position along the offensive line. He should make the team as a backup offensive lineman.

Round 7, Pick 28: Kawaan Baker - WR - South Alabama (6'1", 210 lbs). Baker had a decent season with 51 receptions, 659 receiving yards, and eight receiving touchdowns along with 264 return yards. He will compete for a backup wide receiver position and for a kick returner spot on special teams.

Grade: The New Orleans Saints addressed their depth at multiple positions in this draft with Adebo having the potential to become a starter right away. However, New Orleans should have addressed their wide receiver issues way before the seventh round even though Baker could be a potential steal in the 7th round. I rate this Draft at a C+.

All stats are from NFL.com.

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