The most intriguing battle so far in camp has been the cornerback position which has seen the backups get a number of looks. Both starters Jabari Greer (groin) and Patrick Robinson (shoulder) are out with what are considered minor injuries. Those two are guaranteed starting spots and while it’s less than ideal to be missing them, it’s not a disaster either because the Saints trust they’ll be fine even if they miss a little time. In fact, it gives more reps to the sea of unknown corners on the roster and an opportunity for the Saints to really get a feel for who can cut it. My guess is that Robinson and Greer both will miss the preseason game on Sunday. That leaves Johnny Patrick, who has battled cramps at times and missed a little time himself, and rookie Corey White as the potential starters for the time being.
Another guy that has come out of nowhere and really distinguished himself ahead of the pack is Marquis Johnson.
In fact, he may be the starter ahead of Corey White on Sunday based on his success in camp thus far. Johnson was a 7th round draft pick for the Rams in 2009 out of Alabama, so he’s played two years with Spagnuolo in his system already – and he was handpicked as a draft selection by the coach in his inaugural season as a head man. Johnson has really turned heads so far in camp by intercepting Drew Brees a couple of times while playing with the starting unit, and breaking up a number of pass (like pictured above).
One guy who hasn’t taken advantage of the starters being out is backup Cord Parks, who was released yesterday. The Saints signed DT Alex Daniels to replace Parks on the roster – a slight surprise considering the Saints are somewhat thin at corner with Robinson and Greer both nursing injuries. The fact that the Saints released Parks regardless suggests Parks wasn’t playing well, and that they feel pretty good about the guys ahead of him dominating the competition. Daniels has been in the NFL 2 years on practice squads with the Cowboys and Giants, and part of the reason he was brought in was to replace injured promising young DT Swanson Miller who is currently in a boot.
The other corners that will see a lot of reps against the Cardinals Sunday are Elbert Mack, A.J. Davis, Kamaal McIlvain and Laron Scott. The Saints have kept anywhere from four to seven cornerbacks on opening day as part of their 53 man roster – and they have a lot of safeties they like this year so my guess is it will be on the lower end of that range. Greer, Robinson and Patrick are locks, I’d say, with really Johnson, White and Mack battling for 2 spots. Right now Johnson and White seem to have the edge with Mack on the bubble, so Mack is the guy that will really need to come up with something special soon to survive.