Saints preseason Game 1 focus: CB Arthur Maulet
By Dayton Brown
The odds are against Saints rookie cornerback Arthur Maulet, yet he looks to defy them. That starts week 1 of the preseason on August 10 when New Orleans faces off against the Cleveland Browns.
As the Saints get set to face the Cleveland Browns in both teams’ first games of the preseason, the spotlights are shifting. Focus that is usually put on star players now moves to the rookies and other young guns and old vets trying to make the final roster. Undrafted rookie cornerback Arthur Maulet is becoming no stranger to that microscope.
The rookie defensive back out of Memphis only has 25 collegiate games under his belt, but they were impressive. He finished his college career with 90 total tackles, 4 interceptions with 1 being returned for a touchdown, 19 passes defended, 1 forced and 1 recovered fumble. Thus far, he has also impressed the New Orleans coaching staff in camp and practices.
As difficult as that is for any player, impressing coaches reaches a new level of toughness for undrafted players. Week 1 of the preseason will be a perfect place for Maulet to show off his talents and for the Saints coaching staff to see what he’s made of.
Cleveland’s number one receiver in 2016, Terrell Pryor, signed with the Redskins this offseason. Josh Gordon has yet to rejoin the team after several suspensions by the NFL. However, that doesn’t mean the Browns’ receiving corps doesn’t have talent. If Corey Coleman plays and starts on Thursday, as he will during the regular season, most reps will be against Lattimore. But that could be switched up, and land Maulet 1-on-1 with the impressive sophomore receiver.
Kenny Britt, a new face in Cleveland, is the other projected-starting receiver for the Browns. The veteran could match up with Maulet if he starts, putting him to the test right off the bat. He’ll be surrounded by highly intense defensive players, including Vonn Bell and AJ Klein, and that intensity will shine through if Maulet is playing up to par.
For Cleveland, if both starters sit the first game out, rookies Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis will see the most action at the receiver slots. Maulet would be going up against equally hungry young players, giving him stiff competition to begin his NFL journey.
Maulet has better chances at making this Saints roster than most rookie defensive backs in the league due to huge needs in the secondary for New Orleans. He already reminds many of a more athletic Tracy Porter: he has the instincts and playmaking abilities to cause turnovers and pass breakups consistently. Maulet will be looking to create fireworks and catch the attention of those who determine whether or not he will make the cut.