After informing Jabari Greer that his talents were no longer needed in the Big Easy, the New Orleans Saints signed on 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey. With age and injury, he has lost a step or two, so the Black and Gold made it clear that they would be targeting another defensive back in the 2014 NFL Draft. Well, they did just that by snagging Stanley Jean-Baptiste at the end of the second round.
A former Nebraska Cornhusker, Jean-Baptiste enters the NFL as a 6-foot-3 converted wide receiver. Sound familiar? Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman is a 6-foot-3 converted wideout as well. I am not saying that Jean-Baptiste will be as good as Sherman, but their measurables and backgrounds do compare.
As of right now, the starting cornerback spot opposite Keenan Lewis is open for competition. While Patrick Robinson, Champ Bailey and Corey White have the upper hand due to experience, Jean-Baptiste could still be a candidate for the job. When the season kicks off in September, he will likely not be No. 2 on the depth chart. However, a strong performance in OTAs and training camp should help him see significant playing time from the start.
The 2013 second-team All-Big Ten selection looks to shine during his rookie season; his talent is undeniable. His height, long arms and ball skills grant him shutdown ability and will definitely help him stick out to coaches during training camp. The Saints drafted him to eventually be a starter alongside Lewis, not to sit on the bench. Two tall, lanky corners like Lewis and Jean-Baptiste would certainly make it difficult for opposing quarterbacks to find success through the air.
The Saints got a steal at the end of the second round. Jean-Baptiste looks to be a big playmaker on Rob Ryan‘s defense, and with some extra hustle this summer, that contribution could come much sooner than later.