The Carolina Panthers considered trading up and back in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft but decided to stay put at No. 8 and select South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.
One team that was trying to trade up into the top ten picks was NFC South division rival, New Orleans. Leading up to the draft, rumors were floating around that the Saints were potentially moving up for a quarterback but some NFL insiders reported that if a move were to be made by New Orleans, it would for a defensive player, particularly a cornerback.
It just so happens to be that the Panthers snagged one of the Saints' top targets with the 8th overall selection. In a recent interview on the Rich Eisen Show, Saints head coach Sean Payton talked about the team's attempt to move up in the 1st round and the two guys that they had their eyes set on.
"It was pretty simple. We felt there were a couple players that we'd move up for and for us we have a 'must' at corner. So we had two corners graded - both [Jaycee] Horn and [Patrick] Surtain II - 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."
With New Orleans unable to pole-vault their way up into the top half the 1st round, they took Houston defensive end, Payton Turner 28th overall. Seeing Horn being out of reach is one thing, but to go to the Panthers, a team that they will face twice a year is something Payton did not want to see happen.
"He's a tremendous player and unfortunately, he's in our division. I think it's a good pick by Carolina. He was a real competitive player, you saw it on the film and he did so many things well at that position."
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