The New Orleans Saints quietly made one of the most important free agency acquisitions this offseason when the team brought in former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis, who is now poised to be the most important cog on the Saints defense in 2013.
Lewis was the No. 1 corner in Pittsburgh last season but the team was content with letting him walk thanks to an iffy cap situation and having faith in both Ike Taylor and youngster Cortez Allen.
Thus Lewis traveled to New Orleans and will act as the key focal point of a potentially revamped defense under new coordinator Rob Ryan.
New Orleans ranked No. 31 against the pass last year, was marred by injuries to the point of safety Malcolm Jenkins having to start at corner and was the weakest link on a unit that ended up as the worst statistical unit in NFL history.
In other words, Lewis is the key.
With Lewis at the helm as the No. 1 corner the still developing Patrick Robinson will feel less pressure to perform and the fading veteran Jabari Greer will be asked to do less. There’s no question Lewis is not the starter from day one when comparing him to the other two.
New Orleans brought Lewis in at a $26 million price tag for a reason. While a lot of the attention has been on the linebacker battle and who plays what along the defensive line, it’s the way Lewis changes the complexion of pass coverage that should be getting the most attention in New Orleans—he’s the key to the defense.