Marshon Lattimore: Defensive rookie of the year candidate?
By Dayton Brown
The top cornerback prospect of 2017’s draft looks to excite, which may lead to some awards.
Some are still in shock that Marshon Lattimore practically fell into the lap of the New Orleans Saints. His value in this past draft was enormous, especially after the situation involving Gareon Conley arose. Lattimore impressed during his time at Ohio State and showed signs of a potential force in the secondary. How raw talent will only grow in this league.
The most unique and impressive attribute for Lattimore is his closing speed. His highlight tape from college is full of pass breakups and interceptions that were a result of his incredible closing speed on the football. Lattimore amassed 4 interceptions and 11 passes defended in his two short years at OSU, leaving something more to be desired.
However, he has the ability to produce turnovers and rack up tackles. That’s what will help him win the award and the Saints football games. It will be tough at first going up against such talented receivers in the NFC South. But Lattimore has the chops and raw talent to find his groove quickly and make a huge impact.
Who He’s Going Up Against
What helped get Lattimore to New Orleans was luck. The Saints were lucky so many teams ahead of them spent their picks on offensive weapons. This led to many highly-graded defensive prospects fall in the draft. Only 3 defensive players were selected before Lattimore: Myles Garrett (1st), Solomon Thomas (3rd), and Jamal Adams (6th). Any of those three players have the potential to run away with the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Garrett seems to be the next Von Miller (who won the award in 2011); Thomas could become a sack machine, even on a poor team; and Adams could play hundreds of downs, giving the lowly-Jets plenty of chances to benefit from his talent and skill.
After Lattimore, 13 (!!) defensive players were drafted. Most notably Jabrill Peppers out of Michigan, Takkarist McKinley out of UCLA (who went to the Dirty Birds), and Conley, Lattimore’s college teammate. Those three could be more versatile than Lattimore, but I see him having a step above them for the award.
Could Lattimore excite the Saints and its fan base? Can he join the likes of Joey Bosa, Marcus Peters, and Aaron Donald? He certainly has the talent to do so. His path isn’t as bumpy as it could be, either. I see Lattimore taking home another piece of plaque for Who Dat Nation when this season is all said and done.