New Orleans Saints first-round draft pick Payton Turner is learning quickly that pure athleticism just won't cut it at the NFL level.
"I think it's a lot more detailed here, just going from college to the NFL," Turner said during his Saints Minicamp interview with local media. "Just everything from stance, to footwork, to get-off, pass rush, using your hands more, continue to get better with your hips, flexibility. There's so many more details and stuff that you don't even look at when you're in college just because you might out-athlete people and everything. But everything's just more detailed once you get to this point."
In 2020, Turner was a team captain who led Houston with 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. At 6 feet 6, 270 pounds, Turner registered 25 tackles in just five contests while also being named to the 2020 Phil Steele Magazine American Athletic Conference Second Team and the 2020 Athlon Sports Preseason American Athletic Conference Second Team.
New Orleans selected him with the 28th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
"I've just been trying to be a sponge, really," Turner said. "Just soak up all the information from all the vets getting back here. I've enjoyed it. High-quality people just top to bottom in the whole organization. So I've really enjoyed it."
"I keep calling him Marcus Davenport Jr.," Jordan said. "I'm not sure what the similarities are (on the field yet), but I had him come to the house and pick up some Body Armor - some stuff to put up in the D-Line room. My daughter thought he was definitely Marcus. And I was like that's not. She just walked up to him and was like 'Mr. Marcus is at the house.' I was like, 'No, Mr. Marcus is not at the house, that's Payton.' You know she's four so she's allowed to make those mistakes."
New Orleans has a plethora of depth along the defensive line entering the 2021 campaign even following the departure of 2020 Pro Football Writers of America All-NFL honoree Trey Hendrickson and others. Saints Coach Sean Payton touched on the depth of the position group during his day 1 press conference at Saints Minicamp.
"Payton (Turner) is doing well training," Payton said. "We feel like that position group we've added some depth. And certainly, Trey (Hendrickson) played extremely well for us and it won't be just one person, there'll be a series of players that pick up for some of that production. But we feel good about the direction we're moving out as a team relative to our defensive line."