Aug 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Rod Sweeting (38) takes the field with teammates before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Saints are loaded with young talent at the cornerback position, but one in particular sticks out. Following the 2013 NFL Draft, Rod Sweeting signed with the Black and Gold in hopes of improving a secondary that ranked as one of the worst in NFL history in 2012.
Once he made his way into a starting role at Georgia Tech, he was a solid contributor, totaling 56 tackles, three picks and 10 pass break-ups as a junior. He was an All-ACC honorable mention that year and went on to have another notable season as a senior in 2012.
After New Orleans’ acquisition of Sweeting — best available corner — via the undrafted free agent market, the former Yellow Jacket appeared in nine games for the Saints. He only managed three tackles, but his playing time was very limited as a rookie.
Sweeting offers tremendous upside as a defensive back at the next level. Not only was he a standout in the class room, but his intelligence was key on the field, which could suit him quite well in the pros. He is smart, collected, possesses good instincts and is a solid tackler.
He will look to take advantage of his first full season in Rob Ryan‘s secondary. The cornerback position is fairly deep, so a lights-out performance will be crucial at training camp if he wishes to compete for extensive playing time. For now, Corey White looks to be the favorite to man the nickel with Keenan Lewis and Champ Bailey on the outside. A battle between Sweeting, Patrick Robinson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and some other new faces is the likely scenario, but the sophomore could surprise.
With training camp getting underway, it’s an intoxicating feeling to see Sean Payton and company get back to work in preparation of the new season. From rookies to veterans, everybody is all systems ago. Battles will be won, and some will be lost. With the potential Rod Sweeting brings to the New Orleans Saints, I expect him to be on the winning side.