The New Orleans Saints lost veteran corner Malcolm Jenkins this offseason, but they drafted his potential heir in second-rounder Alontae Taylor.
At least that’s the way Taylor sees it.
After upgrading their offense with their first two draft picks, the Saints made a questionable second-round move in acquiring Tennessee cornerback Alontae Taylor, as the corner position wasn’t viewed as a high priority heading into the draft.
Taylor joins Paulson Adebo as the Saints’ most promising young corners and the two will likely compete for rotational snaps alongside Marshon Lattimore. While Adebo has a year of experience on Taylor, Taylor was recently praised by head coach Dennis Allen for progressing nicely in offseason training.
Allen told NOLA.com:
"I really like (Taylor). I think he’s probably a little further ahead than what I anticipated when he got in here. I’m excited about seeing what he can do."
For his part, Taylor is already setting some pretty lofty goals this season and showing his enthusiastic and driven side:
Saints’ Alontae Taylor wants to make an immediate impact in the defense in 2022
As the new corner on the block, Taylor will face an uphill battle to secure a starting spot in the backfield. 2021 third-rounder Paulson Adebo already proved his value to the team last season, starting in all 17 games, and Adebo currently has a leg up on Taylor.
Yet Adebo also led the Saints with seven total penalties last year and yielded 733 receiving yards in coverage, per Pro Football Focus. If Taylor puts together a fantastic offseason, there’s a high chance he could move past Adebo on the depth chart and even start on the field in Week 1.
Don’t expect Taylor to fill Malcolm Jenkins’ shoes in his first few years in the league, but Taylor seems to be on the right track and should thrive under the tutelage of New Orleans’ grizzled defensive stars.
Heading into 2022, the Saints have a stacked secondary with newly acquired safeties Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu, and it would be disappointment if NOLA finished anywhere lower than the top-10 in overall defense.
We just can’t wait to see Adebo and Taylor try to outperform each other in training camp. May the best cornerback win.