Saints Draft Prospects Part 1: Cornerback

In this series, I’ll be analyzing different collegiate prospects by their position. I’ll begin with the cornerbacks that could be drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Unfortunately, last season numerous injuries plagued the New Orleans Saints. Particularly at the cornerback position. Ultimately the uncertainty of these CBs returning from injury could lead the team to look elsewhere. Could this year’s draft have the answers the Saints need? Are any of these potential prospects the future of the Saints?

My latest mock draft has the New Orleans Saints taking this cornerback. Overall this athlete is a phenomenal corner, capable of a bright future in the NFL. 

Quincy Wilson

If your team is looking for a big, strong, physical cornerback with eyes like a hawk, then look no further then former Florida Gator’s very own corner back, Quincy Wilson. In 2016, Wilson featured 18 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, and 3 interceptions. Although Wilson’s numbers may not be the flashiest, his on-the-field commitment to the game of football is impressive.

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Quincy Wilson #6 of the Florida Gators makes an interception over Jeff Badet #13 of the Kentucky Wildcats during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 10: Quincy Wilson #6 of the Florida Gators makes an interception over Jeff Badet #13 of the Kentucky Wildcats during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

When I watch film on Wilson, it’s obvious how prepared the cornerback is. He brings an intense amount of concentration to his position, and it shows. He can read a signal caller’s progressions and can analyze which way the ball is heading.  The Junior is able to quickly read situations accordingly and acts efficiently.

Now, regarding his cover skills, Wilson does quite well. He thrives in zone coverage, with players coming to him so Wilson can immediately stop the play.

And he isn’t that bad covering receivers man to man. His height and length provides him advantages against most receivers. But as a whole, from what I’ve seen, its rough around the edges. But with time he can develop. I’d personally be more interested in seeing how Wilson fares while going up against tall, lanky receivers, a Michael Thomas for example, compared to a quick short speedy receiver like Brandin Cooks.

Given all that’s been said, and from what I’ve seen, I think Quincy Wilson will transition well into the NFL.  This has clearly proven from the awareness on the field, the athleticism, and the general length his body grants him.

The next corner back is a dominant, hard hitter who thrives on one on one situations. 

Marlon Humphrey

When it comes to hard hitters, dominant players who love what they do, there are few better than  Alabama senior Marlon Humphrey. If you need a hard hitter who loves taking someone down just find Marlon Humphrey. Heck, he’ll do ya one better. What is so fun to watch in Humphrey is his aggressiveness, and his dominance on the field. In 2016, Marlon Humphrey had 26 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, 2 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble.

Sometimes it takes more than just having talent. To have a backbone through adversity makes players that much more special. Marlon Humphrey gets his “backbone” from the responsibilities he puts on himself. From covering one side of the field on his own to stopping plays singlehandedly, it’s certainly a sight to see.

ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 03: Marlon Humphrey #26 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for touchdown after an interception against the USC Trojans in the second half during the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Humphrey generally plays well in a zone defense, because he reads quarterbacks well, and anticipates the ball’s location. Another quality people generally enjoy of Humphrey’s is he thrives on big situations or when plays rely on him. This, if nothing else, shows his character.

My only concerns going forward with Marlon Humphrey is his pressing against receivers in man coverage.

Often Humphrey gets flagged for various penalties because of his general roughness. Don’t get me wrong folks: Marlon Humphrey is physically gifted, and very talented. He just needs to be careful going forward into the NFL. Humphrey is known for being aggressive, and blowing plays up. I’d just personally hate to see one of his best strengths ultimately be his downfall.

In the end Marlon Humphrey is a dominant force who knows what he does well and shares that proudly. He just needs to be careful or else it could result in costly penalties against himself. Given his skills, and everything Marlon Humphrey bring to the game, it’s quite evident his success from college will transition, it’s just how he wants to be looked at.

The next corner back my be small at only 5’11, but big things come in small packages.

Adoree’ Jackson

The saying, “big things come in small packages” holds true for USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. Although Jackson is only 5’11” he features skills that would certainly assist any team he plays for. Like any other cornerback, Jackson has a wide range of talents. That includes good vision/analysis of plays. He does well at finishing plays, tackling players. He even fares well at kick returns and punts from his general speed and play making ability. Overall, Jackson is a talented prospect who’ll certainly be drafted in the first round.

PALO ALTO, CA – SEPTEMBER 17: Adoree’ Jackson #2 of the USC Trojans intercepts a pass intended for Francis Owusu #6 of the Stanford Cardinal during the second half of their NCAA football game at Stanford Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

As I was watching film on Jackson, I noticed this perfect interception by the cornerback against Stanford. I was fortunate enough to find this photo of the key interception. Jackson perfectly reads the ball, anticipates where it’ll be placed, and jumps incredibly high over the receiver, making the key play for USC. This play is just one example of Jackson’s skill, despite only being 5’11, Jackson packs a punch to say the least.

Jackson is not only incredibly swift and quick, but shows great length and height when the corner back jumps.

The only real standing issue I currently have with Jackson is his ability to defend against receptions that are thrown above him. Whether that be balls thrown just straight away or heck even to the sides of the field, this is the only real struggle I’m noticing with Jackson.

Given everything that I’ve noted, I do personally feel Adoree’ Jackson will succeed in the NFL. It’ll be certainly interesting to watch what team selects Jackson, and how he progresses in the next few years.

The final corner back in this article has certainly drawn interest over the past few weeks. 

GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 31: Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Marshon Lattimore (2) looks on during the Playstation Fiesta Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 31, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Tigers defeated the Buckeyes 31-0. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Marshon Lattimore

At 6’0″, Marshon Lattimore stood tall for Ohio State, as his actions spoke loudly as he silently became one of the biggest contributors for the defense this past season. Last season Lattimore had 41 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 9 passes defended against, Lattimore was an impact player who’s presence was clearly felt on the team, and on the field.

In regards to what Lattimore does well, the corner back is good at breaking up passes downfield, has good length, and in general is a great contributor for whatever team he plays for. His speed is unmatched, especially when covering defenders or needing to stop a play.

Now going forward I only have a few concerns about Lattimore. They aren’t major but should at least be mentioned. When lining up against receivers, on occasion Lattimore will let the said receivers get around him quite easily. Transitioning into the NFL isn’t exactly a walk in the park, especially for cornerbacks. Lattimore absolutely needs to turn around more when going up against wide receivers. If he doesn’t he’ll easily be called for pass interference 9 times out of 10. Given this, If Marshon can make these needed changes, he’ll thrive in the NFL.

These cornerbacks are pure examples of dynamic play makers who will help any struggling secondary. There are certainly more than a handful of names worth discussing in regards to this year’s first round class of corner backs. Stay tuned as I plan on continuing this series as the week’s progress.

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