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Saints Nation: Training Camp Position Battle Preview – Cornerbacks

If this secondary is going to show any improvement whatsoever, then the sacred cow of the offseason, Keenan Lewis, will have to live up to the investment. Last year was a dreadful performance from top to bottom beyond words. Besides Lewis and some back end additions at safety, the Saints really haven't done much to solidify the cornerback position in the offseason. Depth is still a massive concern. Here are the players:

Keenan Lewis: Already mentioned above, he's the key to this position showing some improvement over last season. On paper he's superior to anything the Saints had a season ago, but let's not get overly excited either. While Lewis is a steady cover man, he's not a playmaker. In fact, the main reason he's not a high ticket corner is he lacks the ability to make a turnover. Lewis is great at being physical and causing breakups, but he's not a 5+ interceptions a season type guy. That's ok, though, anything is an improvement. He is a lock to start.

Jabari Greer: When healthy Greer has always been a solid overall corner. He makes up for lack of size with a nice combination of superior intelligence, effort, speed and toughness. When he's banged up he alternates between passable and mediocre. I'm not sure he was a top corner in his prime, and now that he's aging I question if he is still starter material on a good team. But Greer is a good guy to have on your team from an influence and accountability standpoint. He's tough, he'll play well in patches, and he will lead by example. If he can stay healthy he still has some gas in the tank. He's a roster lock, and should start.

Patrick Robinson: He's shown great ability in spurts, and overall played quite well in 2011. Unfortunately 2012 under Spags was a trainwreck. He's possibly the best playmaker of the corners, as evidenced by his pick six against Michael Vick last season and his ability to jump routes, but that was by far outweighed by his head constantly swimming last year. When P-Rob is playing bad, it's Jason David/Fred Weary/Toi Cook bad. I'm not ready to fully throw him in that category, but man, if he has another season like last year he starts to be worthy of consideration. In the meantime this season possibly playing in the slot could lower his role, competition, and risk for being exposed. Hopefully that adds up to him developing at a better clip. He's a roster lock, and likely the nickel guy unless he can unseat Greer. He does have 7 interceptions over the last two seasons which is a team best.

Chris Carr: The 9 year vet was a surprise free agency signing by the Saints and will battle for a spot on the roster. I have this weird feeling the Saints will only keep four corners this year because of the depth at safety, and Vaccaro/Jenkins' ability to play the slot. Carr has started for some good Ravens defenses and he played under Rob Ryan in Oakland, so he's familiar with the scheme. He's the favorite to win that 4th spot in my opinion. 

Corey White: He started 4 games last season as a rookie, and played in 10. Those were all largely a complete disaster, though he did show some things later in the season before getting hurt. I view last year as a throwaway, so he'll get another shot with a new coach and scheme. He'll compete with Carr for the dime back position.

A. J. Davis: Many fans seem to like Davis as a darkhorse. He was in training camp last year but lost out on a shot due to injury. He'll try it again this year but seems like a long shot.

Korey Lindsey: From Baton Rouge, the Southern Illinois product has been a prospect liked by many teams, as he's bounced from the Cardinals, Colts, Jaguars and Redskins in the last year. He's been on the active roster of a couple, and the practice squad of the rest. So he's been real close to seeing some time on the field. This camp might be make it or break it for his career though. The fact that other teams has seen something in him seems promising, though not much. 

Rod Sweeting: He's an undrafted rookie free agent, and funny enough NFL.com's draft write up on him compared him to former Saint Randall Gay. I would take that in a heartbeat. It seems like he possesses everything you'd want in a corner except speed. He'll need to show some special teams ability, like a lot of these guys, to have a shot.

Dion Turner: He was briefly with the Packers and Dolphins last season, and this is his second year. He's a long shot as well.

Prediction: I'm going to make the suprising prediction that the Saints retain just four corners and SIX (!) safeties. This because the Saints have so many safeties that are adept at special teams (Abdul-Quddus, Leonhard, Bush) and others that can play the slot (Jenkins, Vaccaro). Therefore, I think Lewis, Greer and P-Rob are locks, with White and Carr fighting for the fourth spot. I'm going to pick Carr due to his experience for now, and White being a surprise cut. He was so bad last year I just have no faith in him. Maybe he, or some of these other guys latch on to the practice suad. 

 

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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