Saints: 3 reasons why Marshon Lattimore can be an All-Pro in 2020
New Orleans Saints’ cornerback Marshon Lattimore came into the 2017 year on fire and won the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Can he get back to that in 2020?
Marshon Lattimore managed to make the Pro Bowl last year, but his play hasn’t consistently aligned with his talent, hurting the Saints at times. Lattimore has battled some injuries to his benefit, so he hopes to stay healthy this year and put together his best season in his young career.
Lattimore only recorded one interception last year, but he did garner 14 pass deflections to go with it. It may seem like he hasn’t lived up to his rookie year, but teams have noticed his talent by barely throwing on his side of the field.
In 2018, Buccaneers wide receiver, Mike Evans, became so flustered with getting shut down by Lattimore that he cheap shotted Lattimore in the back and almost caused a severe injury. During the Saints-Buccaneers week, 5 matchups in 2019 Evans got shut down again by Lattimore, as Evans recorded 0 receptions and 0 yards, according to NFL.com.
Marshon Lattimore did have some great games last year, which earned him his 3rd Pro Bowl trip. Lattimore should be looking to improve off his Pro Bowl ability and hopefully put his best year this year, which could earn him a big payday.
The Saints added former Saint and Eagle, safety Malcolm Jenkins during this off-season, and he should be a great mentor for Lattimore. Jenkins, who was drafted by the Saints in 2009, is one of the smarter safeties in the league, and he can help Lattimore understand his role better.
Malcolm Jenkins was one of the key reasons why the Eagles defense turned it around in the 2017 season and beat Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
Lattimore will look to more leadership and familiarity with the same defensive coordinator to erase his inconsistent play and nagging injuries, and solidify his elite status during his fourth year in the league.
The Saints defense boasted two All-Pro players last year; Demario Davis, who was first-team All-Pro at linebacker and Cameron Jordan, who was second-team All-Pro at defensive end. That said, let’s take a look at why 2020 could be the year where Marshon Lattimore earns the All-Pro status.
Improved pass rush
Injuries have obliterated the Saints’ defense since they won the Super Bowl. I’m not sure if it’s because the Saints get “steals” in the draft, who have injury concerns, and those injuries tend to surface, or just bad luck.
Well, the Saints defensive players get hurt a lot, but all the Saints injury-riddled defenders are returning to full health, and they should have their breakout year at some point.
Marcus Davenport and Sheldon Rankins missed a combined nine games last year. Rankins should be healthier than he’s ever been, and Marcus Davenport is primed to finally break out after the Saints traded two first-round picks for him.
These two defensive linemen look to be fully healthy in their young careers; there are some new pass-rushing faces. Linebacker/defensive end Zack Baun, who was drafted in the 3rd round, should have an immediate impact on passing situations off the edge.
On obvious passing situations, Dennis Allen will be able to put Baun and Davenport off the edges, while Jordan kicks inside. Dennis Allen could also get scary creative and copy a page out of Vikings formula that worked against the Saints in the playoff game, putting both defensive ends inside.
Davenport and Jordan, both powerful forces, could battle the guards, while Baun and Trey Hendrickson could come off the edges.
Marshon Lattimore’s production will be capitalized off from added pressure from the Saints front when opposing quarterbacks force throws to match the Saints offense. Expect Lattimore to grab more interceptions to help his lockdown corner status.