The New Orleans Saints have had a pretty good offseason after acquiring FS Jairus Byrd and re-signing RB Pierre Thomas and OT Zach Strief. However, the departure of Jabari Greer leaves a big hole to fill at the defensive back position. New Orleans needs to go after a cornerback in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. If players such as CB Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State or CB Marcus Roberson of the University of Florida happen to fall down the draft board, the Saints should not hesitate to make a move. Another guy the Saints should consider is CB Jason Verrett out of TCU. Verrett is an excellent option and will probably be available come draft time for New Orleans.
Greer was a huge part of that defense in the Big Easy and I don’t think Patrick Robinson or Corey White are capable of taking on that starting role opposite Kennan Lewis. Robinson and White are strictly nickel and dime package options and tend to get burned by opposing receivers. Robinson missed almost the entire 2013 season after falling to a gruesome knee injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2, so there’s no telling if he’ll ever be back to his normal self.
Of course, drafting a cornerback in the first round won’t guarantee that player a starting spot right away, but it’s something for coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to work with for future purposes. I think the Saints are well off at just about every other position, but if GM Mickey Loomis finds a way to bring in another defensive back via free agency, then more power to him.
If New Orleans can find a compliment to Keenan Lewis, that will be a threatening secondary for opposing offenses to face. Plugging Jairus Byrd into the equation was a huge step in the right direction, especially after parting ways with veterans like Jabari Greer, Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins. The pressure that DE Cam Jordan and OLB Junior Galette bring causes quarterbacks to make bad decisions, and with a ball hawk like Byrd, the Saints should be a turnover machine. By adding more talent to the cornerback position, things can only get better.
Free agent CB Champ Bailey made a visit to the Saints’ training facility Tuesday afternoon. Pursuing the veteran leadership of Bailey would be crucial for that locker room in the Big Easy. Will the Saints chase after Bailey or will they wait until May? The 2014 NFL Draft is just around the corner. It will be interesting to see what New Orleans has in store when on the clock.