The New Orleans Saints have one of the game’s best press corners in Keenan Lewis, who blossomed as a true shutdown, No. 1 corner last season thanks to his own talent and some great coaching and game-planning from ace defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Lewis, second-year strong safety Kenny Vaccaro, and new star free safety Jairus Byrd are three top-notch players on a talented Saints secondary that also added two big pieces at corner. The first is veteran CB Champ Bailey, who will most likely bounce back and show that he has something left in the tank after struggling with an injury last season. The second piece is late second-round pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who fits the Lewis profile as a talented press-man corner, though the Richard Sherman comparisons are pretty bloated at this point in time.
Per TheTownTalk.com’s Glenn Guilbeau, Saints head coach Sean Payton called Jean-Baptiste a player with a high ceiling who needs some more time to fulfill that big potential, “He is someone that will still have a lot of growth, and we feel like he is a guy with a higher ceiling who needs development time at the position.”
Payton added, “He’s someone that you can start with and build with length and build with ball skills. He’s mature. He’s someone who is soft-spoken. He’s someone that is very confident.”
It’s solid praise for the former Nebraska star, who hopes to receive plenty of guidance from a future Hall of Famer in Bailey, great coaching from Ryan and the rest of the staff, and an example of a prototypical press corner in Lewis. Jean-Baptiste lacks speed and will need to improve his technique in order to avoid being burned, but his size, strength, and ball skills give him plenty of upside. If he can be coached up enough and develop sound technique, then his speed concerns won’t be a big problem. Thanks to Byrd, getting burned downfield shouldn’t big a big problem as it stands right now, since Byrd has elite instincts and excels in deep coverage.