The depth in the New Orleans Saints‘ secondary is undeniable. That’s why the biggest positional battles at training camp are taking place at cornerback and safety. From drafted rookies to experienced veterans, to undrafted free agents, everybody is fighting for an extensive role. However, some are duking it out just for a spot on the 53-man roster.
For now, it’s a tough call, but after the Week 1 contest against the St. Louis Rams and two weeks of camp in the books, we are beginning to see the battles brew. I’d like to point out a few that we should all be keeping an eye on as the 2014 NFL Preseason progresses.
Starting CB job opposite Keenan Lewis: Patrick Robinson vs. Corey White vs. Champ Bailey
Champ Bailey is quickly becoming the odd man out. Before training camp got underway, he was the favorite to win the role. He has been sidelined with an ailment, but did get a few workouts in today. Coach Sean Payton said he expects him back sooner rather than later, but he will have some work to do to catch up with Patrick Robinson and Corey White, who both look solid at the moment. Poor Bailey could even be on the roster bubble now.
Other than Keenan Lewis, P-Rob has been the Black and Gold’s best corner since camp kicked off at The Greenbrier at the end of July. White is beginning to put together a show as well after dominating on the defense during Tuesday’s rainy practices. I see it as one, two, three for now — Robinson, White then Bailey. However, the scenario can change at the blink of an eye.
Final safety spot on the depth chart: Marcus Ball vs. Pierre Warren
This is only if the Saints choose to close out the final depth chart with five safeties, but anything after that is highly unlikely. We remember when Marcus Ball was signed on earlier this year from the Canadian Football League. There he is, Kenny Vaccaro‘s backup. Now, it seems like everything is pointing to Vinnie Sunseri, which puts Ball in a hole.
Undrafted free agent Pierre Warren has been one of the biggest surprises at training camp so far. From pass breakups to acrobatic interceptions, the Jacksonville State product has been all over the field. The job is up for grabs, so may the best man win.
Last CB spot on the depth chart: Rod Sweeting vs. Trevin Wade
Before the preseason kicked off, we were looking at Keenan Lewis, Champ Bailey, Corey White, Patrick Robinson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Rod Sweeting as the final depth chart (projected, of course). Nothing much has changed, but Trevin Wade is knocking on the door. New Orleans could thin up at another position and keep seven corners, but the chances are slim to none.
Coach Sean Payton looks for mental errors during the preseason. Rod Sweeting had a couple during the Week 1 matchup in St. Louis. Wade looked solid and has been looking that way since the start of camp. The competition is real and both of these guys are hungry, but for now, Wade looks like he has the bigger appetite.
Of course, there are more battles brewing in the Saints’ “no-fly zone” than the ones I’ve listed. However, I feel like these are the ones that should be the center of attention for now. With the second preseason game set to kick off on Friday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Tennessee Titans, it will be interesting to see which guys can jump the gun and build a lead.