At just twenty-four years old, Saints’ superstar Marshon Lattimore is almost unanimously regarded as a top-five cornerback.
The Ohio State product made a splash in his rookie campaign back in 2017, selected in the first round by the New Orleans Saints.
After being drafted to be groomed into a starting corner, Lattimore got his chance early when fate intervened and Delvin Breaux fractured his tibia. Lattimore was forced into the lineup and has never looked back.
His first interception became his first touchdown as Lattimore marched his way to five interceptions, eighteen pass deflection in a Defensive Rookie of the Year season.
Lattimore has yet to produce similar results in the interception category, but he forced five fumbles in 2018 and has remained a lockdown presence and a consistently aggressive tackler.
He’s also shown a clutch gene: many will remember his game-clinching interception against Nick Foles in the divisional round. With Lattimore at the CB1 spot, the Saints’ defense will certainly have a stable foundation to rest on for however long Lattimore is in the black and gold.
Lattimore’s career is far from over, but the 24-year-old has reached a point in his career when his production could go either way. He’s notched fifty-plus tackles in all three of his seasons, but he has yet to reproduce anything like the five-interception season he put together in his 13-game rookie year.
More from Who Dat Dish
- Saints weapon Taysom Hill might have another new role in 2022
- Are the Saints playoff contenders or pretenders in 2022?
- 3 takeaways from Saints unofficial depth chart ahead of preseason opener
- Saints 2022 Training Camp: Top 5 takeaways from Day 13
- 3 things to know about new Saints QB K.J. Costello
As Lattimore ages and matures, look for him to take fewer risks on the ball and focus more on his lockdown physicality, which has made him the pervasive nuisance of NFC South receivers. With the rough-and-tumble way Lattimore plays the game, it’s likely he won’t be able to achieve a high level of production for a sustained period of time.
His hamstring was a matter of concern for many teams coming out of Ohio State, and he’s already missed games due to concussions and ankle injuries; it’s only a matter of time before Lattimore’s body and brutal nature begins to betray him.
WhoDatDish Writer’s Poll Ranking: 6.6
Marshon Lattimore is good at football. Not only is he good at football, but he is arguably the best naturally talented cornerback the Saints have had in over a decade.
That being said, the hype produced from Lattimore’s rookie season may betray him.
Lattimore deserves to be in the conversation for best corner in the NFC South, but to call him “elite” would be premature; considering he has appeared to have slumped in the past two years, we simply don’t have enough to form a solid idea of just how valuable (or overrated) Marshon Lattimore really is.
There have also been times when Lattimore’s youth has been a liability on the field. Be it trading blows with Mike Evans or letting his frustration get the best of him, Lattimore has let himself get rattled and shown weakness at inopportune moments, often costing his team.
In order to keep growing, Lattimore must buckle down on the more physical aspects of his game, all the while accepting the physicality will likely be what does him in. As long as he can keep a cool head, doing so will be the only way for the former 11th overall pick to maximize his value.