So far, so good for Saints rookie class

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Paulson Adebo
LANDOVER, MD – OCTOBER 10: New Orleans Saints cornerback Paulson Adebo (29) intercepts a pass during the first half at a NFL game between the Washington Football Team and the New Orleans Saints on October 10, 2021 at the FedExField in Landover, MD (Photo by Stephen Lew).

As the New Orleans Saints head into their bye week, their players who were selected in the 2021 NFL draft are looking like solid investments.

First round choice Payton Turner from Houston has shown flashes as a pass rusher from his defensive end spot. The University of Houston product has lined up in the standing position as a pass rusher and has gotten pressure on the quarterback.

As the scouting report on him stated, Turner has size, speed and is versatile enough to play both end and tackle. The post-draft analysis I made in May was that he also has a history of injuries throughout his college career. That has been the case so far he has shown flashes but has missed time since training camp with nagging injuries.

My breakdown here after the selection of Ohio State linebacker Pete Warner included the potential that this pick may prove to be the best of this draft class. I still feel that way.

Werner was slowed by a hamstring in training camp but is now a starter next to Demario Davis. He has been a tackling machine, with 10 tackles against the Giants including one for loss and 13 against the Washington Football Team. Werner had most of the snaps next to Davis in those two games, making plays sideline-to sideline as he did in college. His instincts and range are exactly as advertised.

Third round pick Paulson Adebo, cornerback out of Stanford, has been picked on a lot by the opposing quarterbacks and has held his own for the most part. He gets beat some but has also shown he can cover outside and make plays on the ball as he did in the end zone against Washington for an interception.

Adebo has speed, size and intelligence, playing the ball in the air well. He had eight picks for Stanford but didn’t play as many games as you’d like so his trial by fire as a rookie is going very well as he quickly learns on the job.

Quarterback Ian Book was a good college quarterback at Notre Dame with the most wins in the school’s storied history. The fourth rounder may get his chance next season to see playing time. Book had a solid training camp, opening enough eyes to make what seemed like a reach in the draft look like a worthwhile investment.

In Round 6, the Saints traded up to take Landon Young, an offensive tackle out of Kentucky. I though at that time he would have a good chance to make the team, which he did. With the early season injuries on the offensive line, Young is seeing playing time.

My intial writeup on Young noted he is big and physical with a rugged style of play and has initial quickness with enough mobility to close space on a defender. A sturdy and strong prospect with a wresting background, Young will likely be a long-term contributor as hoped.

Kawaan Baker, the South Alabama wide receiver taken in Round 7, is a practice squad prospect with some ability.

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