Final Grades: Saints 2021 NFL Draft Class

The Saints News Network provides their Final Grades for the New Orleans Saints 2021 NFL Draft.
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The New Orleans Saints front office, led by GM Mickey Loomis and HC Sean Payton, entered Thursday Night's opening round of the 2021 NFL Draft with eight total selections. New Orleans made just six selections after trading multiple selections to move up in the third and sixth round.

Mixed reviews met the team's six selections by the loyal Who Dat Nation, draft analysts, and local media. Despite the various evaluations, the entire draft class is projected to make the 53-man roster and an immediate impact. But how do the picks grade out? 

The Saints News Network provides their final grades on the Saints 2021 NFL Draft Class.

1st Round, Pick 28: Payton Turner, Defensive End, Houston

Payton Turner, Saints 1st Round Draft Pick

Every player that comes out and gets drafted gets critiqued. However, the knock is coming from Houston, and that he may still be a bit raw going to the next level. He has the versatility to his game that the Saints covet, but the million-dollar question lies in what he will do against NFL-level talent.

That’s what concerns fans most. You probably cannot have enough pass rushers at your disposal, and you can see how excited Turner is to have an opportunity. As disappointing as the pick may have been, especially for those who considered it a reach, this is one of those situations where you can’t fully pass immediate judgment until you see how things play out.

John Hendrix, Lead Writer & Reporter 

2nd Round, Pick 60: Pete Werner, Linebacker, Ohio State

Pete Werner, Saints Linebacker

He's one of those picks that may not seem that exciting, but he's a guy who comes in and does work. He told us last night, "I'm an easy going guy. When it's time to go, it's time to go." "I'm going to go until the whistle blows. I'm excited to show what I got." That's what fans should be looking for, as he undoubtedly will have some competition to beat out, but looks to earn a solid role on the roster with starting potential.

John Hendrix, Lead Writer & Reporter

3rd Round, Pick 76: Paulson Adebo, Cornerback, Stanford

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Adebo was a playmaker for the Stanford Cardinals with 27 pass breakups and eight interceptions during his collegiate career. He is a big-bodied corner who needs to grow his physique. Adebo, due to his size and speed, can become the perfect chess piece against an abundance of large and quick receiving talent in the NFC South.

Brendan Boylan, Writer & Fantasy Football Analyst

4th Round, Pick 133: Ian Book, Quarterback, Notre Dame

Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame; Saints Quarterback

Notre Dame's all-time winningest quarterback will remain in a gold helmet at the pro level. Book, selected in the fourth round, will provide competition to newly re-signed QB Jameis Winston. Along with competition in camp, Book gives New Orleans another young option for the title of "heir" to Drew Brees' throne. 

Do not expect the Notre Dame product to start in 2021 unless it is a necessity. Book needs to grow as a pocket-passer, often bailing from the pocket too early in college. This tendency makes it difficult to predict how he will transition to the pro game. However, pairing him with a QB whisper in Sean Payton, Book's career has the potential to be bright in New Orleans.

Brendan Boylan, Writer & Fantasy Football Analyst

6th Round, Pick 206: Landon Young, Offensive Tackle, Kentucky

Saints offensive tackle Landon Young

A former five-star recruit, Young found great success with his home town Kentucky Wildcats. He ranked amongst the SEC's best tackles earning a PFF grade of 84.6 in Pass Protection and 76.8 in Run Blocking. The 1st Team All-SEC Selection should compete with OT James Hurst in training camp this summer.

Brendan Boylan, Writer & Fantasy Football Analyst

Not a person on earth should be surprised that the Saints added an offensive lineman. Landon Young has quick feet, and I love his ability to play either tackle spot.

Bob Rose, Sr. Writer & Bayou Blitz Podcast Host

7th Round, Pick 255: Kawaan Baker, Wide Reciever, South Alabama

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The fact that New Orleans didn't pick a receiver until the 7th round tells me they really like what Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris are going to do in this offense in 2020. Still, I like Baker's instant acceleration and explosive leaping ability. It definitely could be the latest late round/UDFA success at wideout.  

Bob Rose, Sr. Writer & Bayou Blitz Podcast Host

Draft Recap (5)

Collectively, the entire New Orleans Saints 2021 draft class is very good.  I have to agree with Coach Payton on this one point - player selection grade makes sense after three years of playing in the NFL.  You give a player enough time to learn how to become a professional football player, evolve into the role, and begin to produce.   

At that point, a head coach and general manager can determine whether the player is an asset or liability.  Assets receive a second contract or extensions, and liabilities walk in free agency.  Of course, there can be other contributing factors in making specific calls on certain players.  For me, I hope to give my true 2021 Saints Draft grades in three years.

Kyle T. Mosley, Managing Editor and Publisher

Saints Draft Class Final Grade: B


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