Saints DB Kool-Aid McKinstry will have an early opportunity to put the NFL on notice

New Orleans Saints rookie cornerback Kool-Aid McKinsty will have the chance to establish himself as an impact player early in his career.
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1)
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) / Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints used their first two picks in the 2024 NFL Draft on two players that have a chance to be day-one contributors. In the first round, the Saints selected offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga. They followed that up by drafting cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry in the second round. Both Fuaga and McKinstry will likely see the field early, which means they will immediately be challenged.

However, challenges are only opportunities to prove that you belong. Both Fuaga and McKinstry will be able to prove they belong when New Orleans takes on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. With the official release of the 2024 NFL schedule, it was revealed that the Saints will travel to Dallas in Week 2. For the rookies, that means Fuaga could be lined up across from Micah Parsons, and McKinstry could be helping out against CeeDee Lamb.

CeeDee Lamb could be the first big challenge for Kool-Aid McKinstry

McKinstry was drafted to a deep cornerback room. The Saints already have four-time Pro Bowl corner Marshon Lattimore, as well as Paulson Adebo, who’s coming off a breakout year. New Orleans also has Alontae Taylor. This is all to say that if the Saints were going to have a corner mirror Lamb, it’d be Lattimore.

However, the Cowboys like to move CeeDee Lamb around a lot, often lining him up in the slot. A lot of times, that can create a mismatch, as defenses typically keep their best cover guys on the outside. The result: big days for Lamb and long days for defenses.

Since McKinstry has been drafted, there have been talks about where he’ll play in the Saints secondary. The most common suggestion has been that he’ll lineup at slot corner, while Lattimore and Adebo remain on the outside. If that happens, McKinstry could be seeing a lot of Lamb in just his second NFL game.

Leaving a rookie corner one-on-one with one of the game’s best receivers could be a nightmare situation. McKinstry’s inexperience could be on full display, and he could repeatedly get toasted. Or, he could step up to the challenge and provide quality coverage against Lamb. If he does that, he’ll establish himself as a contributor for the Saints, and New Orleans’ secondary will put the league on notice.