The New Orleans Saints made what was thought to be an excellent decision in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft after calling upon the talents of cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste. However, the Nebraska standout managed to find himself in the doghouse for his entire rookie year, not seeing a single snap during the regular season.
But what the less informed did not know is that head coach Sean Payton and company drafted SJB with the intentions of patiently developing him. This is a special athlete who needed the extra time to learn and progress from the collegiate level to the pros — cornerback is the toughest position to do so.
You can’t just toss a rookie in there who still needs to acclimate to the next level, otherwise he’ll more than likely be destined for failure. Under the proper care of a solid coaching staff and some mentoring from experienced teammates, Stanley Jean-Baptiste has a very bright future.
Who better to learn from than shutdown specialist Keenan Lewis? Actually, there is one that comes to mind. After an array of shocking moves this offseason, the Saints were still able to pull in some intriguing free agent talent to give the team a boost. One being Brandon Browner, a veteran cornerback who shares similar physical traits and abilities to those of Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
Big corners are in high demand at the moment. SJB stands at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds while Browner stands one inch taller and just three pounds heavier. Both exhibit excellent size and length to match up with some of the league’s bigger receivers – a surplus in the NFC South.
Brandon Browner and Jean Baptiste both boast outstanding balance, change of direction and body control to jump routes while also displaying the necessary strength to knock receivers off their routes, to free up from blockers and to make the proper tackles on ball carriers. As a former wide receiver, SJB also possesses excellent ball skills like Browner, which are crucial for coming away with the big play.
Neither are fast, which is why physicality is a must — I can’t think of another corner in the league who displays that better than Browner. Take notes, SJB, and the rest of the defense should do the same. You can’y deny the fact that Rob Ryan‘s unit looked “soft” last year. To be honest, as a fan of hard-nosed football, the Saints’ tenderness was quite sickening at times.
But aside from the physical characteristics these two defensive backs share, Stanley Jean-Baptiste can also look at Brandon Browner as a leader in the mental aspect of the game. History shows the back-to-back Super Bowl champion is a voice both on the field and in the locker room. Browner is a guy that will get your blood pumping, forcing you try harder and get better every time you set foot on the field — probably a reason why Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis signed him to a three-year deal.
So with similar traits and a veteran voice that can benefit the younger and less experienced Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who better to learn from than the big, physical, high-motored Brandon Browner? Nobody in my book. Be patient, Saints fans. SJB could soon be on the rise with the assistance of an excellent and knowledgeable adviser.
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