Sep 27, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess (17) drops a pass in the end zone as New Orleans Saints cornerback Damian Swann (27) defends in the third quarter. The Panthers defeated the Saints 27-22 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
CB Damian Swann:
Swann had to have been exceptionally cruel to puppies or something in a past life, because I can’t think of another way to explain the misfortune this young man has come into in his rookie season. Just as it finally looks like the Saints may have actually drafted a young corner who can actually play the position, he is repeatedly concussed (and finally placed on injured reserve after his 3rd against Tampa Bay). Swann didn’t suffer his injuries due to play style, stupidity, or dirty play from opponents, he just has really unfortunate luck. A mistimed jump and an unfortunate thigh to the head are all that are preventing him from likely being the team’s No. 2 corner right now.
When Swann has actually been able to play, he’s been productive, consistent, and best of all tenacious. Swann has demonstrated both the actual coverage ability required to play corner on the NFL level, as well as the competitive drive to play the run and tackle (a novelty for some corners) that is fairly rare for a player as young as him. I would find it hard to put Swann on my list of five just because of who else is there, but at the same time it wouldn’t be hard to argue for him to be listed at six if he can just stay healthy.
If someone were to ask what three attributes I would most want in a corner they would be tenacity, fluidity, and technique. Swann has all three, and in spades. In an ideal world, Damian Swann wouldn’t have gotten hurt and we would have a full year to observe his abilities and his growth. What we have seen up to this point indicates he has great potential, however, with the limited number of games combined with the injuries (and that injury in particular) I can’t put him on this list YET. Make no mistake Saints fans, Damian Swann absolutely could still be a huge steal for the team, but for now, sadly, we can only wait and see.
Next: Kenny Vaccaro