With the 28th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Payton Turner, defensive end, out of the University of Houston.

Turner, 22, was born in Houston, Texas on January 7, 1999.  He starred at Westside High School in Houston and was a scholarship athlete at the University of Houston. While at UH, Turner was a four-year member of the football team and started his final three years.  He was a pass rush specialist his freshman year, playing on third downs and passing situations. His senior season, he missed two games due to injury but still recorded five sacks in five games played.

Turner was named second team All-American Athletic Conference at the end of this season and was invited to play in the 2021 Senior Bowl. CBS draft analyst, Pete Prisco, gave the Saints a "C" grade with their pick, saying there were better edge rushers still on the board, and NFL.com draft analyst, Lance Zierlein, says Turner reminds him of Preston Smith of the Green Bay Packers.

Here are Turner's measurables from his Pro Day:

  • Height: 6’5 1/2″
  • Weight: 268 pounds
  • Wingspan: 84″
  • Arm: 35″
  • Hand: 10 1/4″
  • 40-Yard Dash: DNP
  • Vertical: 35.5"
  • Broad JumpDNP
  • Shuttle: 4.31
  • 3-Cone: 7.01
  • Bench Press: 23 reps

Most draft analysts are expecting Turner to be a starter for the Saints within two years, and to be a productive starter for the defense for many years to come.

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