Determining the New Orleans Saints’ core players moving forward
Nov 8, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (40) gestures after making a defensive play against the Tennessee Titans in the first quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
CB Delvin Breaux:
Arguably the hardest position to fill outside of quarterback in the NFL is a true shutdown corner, someone who can take the opposing team’s best wide receiver, and erase them. It’s something that few teams get, and something the New Orleans Saints have lacked for a long time. Delvin Breaux is technically a rookie in the NFL and yet over the last five games have has given up a TOTAL of less than 35 yards in coverage. That is incredible under any circumstance, but when you consider the context to what Breaux is doing, you realize just how special he is and how fortunate the Saints are to have him. Delvin Breaux’s story is well know by Saints fans at this point; how he came back from a near-fatal neck injury in high school, fought his way up through the ranks of the CFL, and finally became a starter for his hometown team, the New Orleans Saints.
Some stories just scream ‘Hollywood movie’ at you, and his certainly does. But what is so amazing about Breaux isn’t just that he’s gone from NFL unknown to one of the league’s elites basically overnight, it’s how. What doesn’t get enough attention is the fact that Breaux didn’t play a down of college football. He got hurt, went to school but never played, and eventually worked his way through the Arena and Canadian Football Leagues. In many ways Delvin Breaux is the football equivalent of the player who goes straight from high school to the NBA, except he lost several years of playing time before making the leap. The argument for Breaux being a core piece to build on can be summed up very simply from that: he’s this good now and he’s only just starting to master the position. Breaux has half the experience going against high-level competition that his opponent’s do, and yet he is erasing them from the stat sheet.
Even more incredible than that though, is the fact that Breaux has been as good as he has been with virtually no pass rush to help him. EVERY other corner playing at an elite level in the NFL right now has an above average pass rush and a defense around them to help. The only player who is at that level this year who is getting virtually no help is Breaux, and yet, he has played against many of the game’s best and dominated them. Better than that is the fact that he has made mistakes, but that he has learned from them. Breaux isn’t a finished product, he’s still developing. If the Saints can ever find (and keep healthy) a quality second corner on the outside and get a pass rush, this could have the makings of a very good defense in the years to come.
Next: Terron Armstead