There's no shortage of position battles for the New Orleans Saints this offseason, but there's one in particular Saints fans should keep their eyes on.
In the NFL, regardless of how good, or bad, a team is, there will be battles for starting positions every offseason. After all, NFL does of course stand for "Not For Long". The New Orleans Saints are no exception of course, and given the makeup of the rest of the division the Saints have to deal with, expectations are fairly high as it pertains to where they should finish in not just division standings, but conference seedlings in the NFC landscape. As such, it's crucial the Saints get the starting lineup right to set them up for success, but there's one in particular that could hold the most importance.
The apparent open competition for the starting second cornerback spot opposite Marshon Lattimore is both interesting, and important. Granted, in today's pass-happy NFL, you really need three quality corners, one of which playing in slot, but it also adds added importance to the ones on the outside due to the ever-increasing volume of action they see.
We also touched on the state of the NFC South earlier, and that also adds a wrinkle here. At least two of the Saints division rivals will start young quarterbacks, the Carolina Panthers trading up to draft Bryce Young number one overall this year and the Atlanta Falcons with second-year Desmond Ridder. It could even be all three rivals if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go with 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask at any point. With that being the case, the Saints need quality cornerback play to make life as difficult for the relatively inexperienced opposing quarterbacks as possible.
Now for the two Saints corners who will be battling it out.
After a stellar, and promising, rookie season in 2021, Paulson Abedo had a bit of a downer in 2022. Meanwhile, rookie Alontae Taylor, who the Saints drafted in the second-round in 2022, showed some flashes of brilliance when given the chance. Both are young, and hungry, and it'll be interesting to see what happens. Throughout minicamp, the battle for the spot has been heating up.
The bulk of the pressure is on Abedo, as he has the burden of proving his rookie season was no fluke, and that his second season isn't the norm. Taylor, and his upward trajectory, also has the versatility to play in the slot anyway if needed, which adds to the fact that he's basically competing with house money.
Like we said, you do need three cornerbacks who can play in today's NFL. However, the importance of quality play on the outside is as important as ever, especially for the New Orleans Saints if teams want to avoid throwing at Lattimore. We don't know what will ultimately happen, but we do know that we're keeping our eyes on who gets the prize.