The New Orleans Saints added three notable names to their secondary this offseason, with the most obvious being star free safety Jairus Byrd, who will have a huge affect on the defense as an elite coverage safety. But the Saints also brought in solid veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, and promising Nebraska Cornhuskers rookie CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who has drawn lofty comparisons as one of the draft’s most highly-regarded press corners. Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan loves big corners who can get physical with receivers, as he helped turn Keenan Lewis into one of the NFL’s premier press corners.
According to the NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the starting cornerback position opposite of Lewis is “up for grabs”, and he states that Jean-Baptiste has “impressed” the Saints organization thus far. While Bailey has experience, SJB is a better fit for Ryan’s defense due to his size and physicality, and he has more upside.
SJB has the tools to be a top-notch corner in the future, but I viewed him as a raw prospect coming out of Nebraska. He can get burned a bit too much, he lacks long speed, and he still needs to refine his technique. But the fact that he’s making an early impression on the Saints tells me that he could be in-line for great things this upcoming season, and he could very well be a better player than Bailey right now. Bailey’s leadership and experience will make him a great mentor for SJB, who will also get to learn plenty from Ryan and Lewis. He has a huge amount of potential, and it’s clear that he could be an exciting player to watch this upcoming season.