What should the New Orleans Saints do with pending free agents?

Marshon Lattimore #23 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marshon Lattimore #23 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Saints
Marshon Lattimore #23, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Marshon Lattimore: Pros for New Orleans Saints retaining him

Based on the work done at Pro Football Focus, cornerback has been found to be arguably the most valuable non-quarterback position in the NFL. We generally think of elite pass rushers as being the foundation of a defense, but, in actuality, it appears that sound coverage on the back is where resources should be allocated toward. If a defense can force opposing quarterbacks to hold onto the ball longer than expected, they can force pressure that way, which is also generally easier to scheme than coverage.

It is hard to forget how elite of a season Marshon Lattimore put together as a rookie, deflecting 18 passes in just 13 games. He’s also allowed a completion rate under 53% in each of the past two seasons, as well as just a 79.4 quarterback rating in 2019. Those are premium numbers, especially since he has been asked to cover No. 1 receivers consistently.

With Lattimore in the fold, the Saints can incorporate a lot more press-man-coverage looks into their defense, which is what defensive coordinator Dennis Allen utilized last season as a pillar of a productive unit. Without him, that becomes much more difficult, especially considering the team has little in the way of cornerback depth.

Defenses are much more about avoiding weak-links than anything else, and not keeping Lattimore would hurt them in that process. To top it off, continuity is critical for defenses, and it’s going to be hard for New Orleans to consistently defend the pass if they continue to part ways with premium talent.