New Orleans remained consistent and conservative in their draft process philosophy on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft with the selections of prototypical players in linebacker Pete Werner and Paulson cornerback Adebo. Saints GM Mickey Loomis said, "Yeah, look, I think we always pay attention to prototype players that meet the height, weight, speed parameters that we have in our league."
PETE WERNER (LINEBACKER) - 2nd ROUND, No. 60
Werner is a linebacker who fits the model for New Orleans. The Ohio State product lists close to 6-3 in height, 238 pounds, and runs a 4.59 sec 40. Last season, Werner led his team with 54 tackles, 2.5 TFL, one sack, and forced two fumbles. At linebacker for the Saints, Werner's intuitive play and strength as a tackler is an upgrade compared to their former third-round choice in 2017, Alex Anzalone. "Pete Werner, he's a guy that we thought a lot of. Very athletic, great instincts, tough, played Will linebacker, but we see him having some versatility. (He’s) Real good and pass coverage and super smart," remarked Loomis.
Mike Detillier's Analysis on Werner:
Werner runs the field well and has an excellent overall range. Able to read and react quickly to what is breaking down in front of him. He has to improve his footwork and coverage spacing. OSU coaches rave about his football intelligence, athletic skills to make big plays, coverage ability, and upside to his overall football skillset.
2021 Impact: Werner will be in the Saints linebacking corps rotation.
PAULSON ADEBO (CORNERBACK) - 3rd ROUND, No. 76
New Orleans traded two picks, No. 98 and No. 105, for Denver's No. 76 overall draft pick to land a cornerback. Stanford's Paulson Adebo was their selection and filled a glaring need for the Saints. Adebo, at 6-1, 200 pounds, and 4.44 speed, is a "ballhawk" who consistently got his hands on the football and had the speed to close in on a receiver. "This is a tall, very athletic, another kid that is really super smart. I know David Shaw [Stanford Head Coach] thinks a lot of him," commented Loomis. Adebo opted out of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He lost significant playing time as a result, and Loomis believes he does need development. The Saints GM noted, "He was an all-Pac 12 player, and we're excited to see this young man and see if we can develop him, and we'll see where it lies at the end of training camp in terms of how much he gets to play."
Mike Detillier's Analysis on Adebo:
Paulson has a long, very lean frame and can match up with the bigger WR's downfield. While he is not one-step fast, once he gets those long legs churning, he is plenty fast. In two seasons, Adebo intercepted eight passes and is a ballhawk. He likes to get his hands on a receiver and can throw off the timing of the receiver and quarterback. Paulson plays a little high in the saddle with the backpedal technique, needs to get stronger, develop his open-field tackling skills, and become a better run defender.
2021 Impact: If Adebo has an average training camp, he may not immediately start. Expect him to become a major contributor in the defensive backs group after the first four games of 2021.
THE COMMON THREAD
The Saints' high-draft picks usually have the intangibles of being smart, instinctive, larger-schools background, athletic family, multi-sports experience, and are versatile.
An outsiders perspective may view them as conservative and "not sexy," - but in the end for New Orleans, their picks' production have been excellent in recent years.
Though the New Orleans Saints organization hasn't veered off course in their drafting philosophy, will it prove fruitful in the final stanza of the draft on Saturday? Analysts still believe they need a wide receiver, offensive lineman, defensive tackle, and safety positions. Four picks are ready for Mickey Loomis to utilize on Day 3 - Round 4 (No. 133), Round 6(No. 218), Round 7 (No. 229), and Round 7 (No. 255). Packaging a few of their late-round picks to draft into rounds 4 and 5 would not be a surprise.
LSU linebacker Jabril Cox remains undrafted. Could he still be in play for the Saints on Day 3?
We shall see.
Go to our 2021 NFL Draft Tracker.