The battle for cornerback will probably be the most watched and most interesting competition taking place during Saints training camp this season. With so many additions made to the position this off-season, fans are sure to see an improvement in the Saints pass coverage. But which players will be the ones to bring about that change?
Let's meet our lovely contestants, shall we?:
The first thing you may notice is the absence of Usama Young's name from this list. Young was included earlier in our look at safeties and I think that's where he belongs. The Saints seem to have given up on Young as a cornerback and making the team as a safety may be his last chance.
We will assume that the Saints are going to keep five of these players. But injuries wreaked havoc on this position last season and with Gregg Williams' new defensive system and an abundance of special teams contributors, the Saints may keep even more. It should also be noted that even though two players will earn starting roles, Williams will probably utilize many different nickel and dime packages that will require more than just two corners on the field at one time.
Jabari Greer is the Saints big off-season pick up this year and could possibly be the best player of the bunch. The Saints were aggressive in acquiring Greer who comes in as a highly touted man-to-man cover corner; something the Saints need desperately. Not only should he definitely make this team but he could and should be starting.
First round draft pick Malcolm Jenkins also finds himself right in the thick of the cornerback competition. Early reports from rookie mini-camp were positive and despite the knocks on his speed, Jenkins is positioned very nicely to start contributing early. He's definitely going to make this team the only questions will be where he falls on the depth chart and at what position.
The much anticipated return of sophomore cornerback Tracy Porter brings the hope of a greatly improved secondary this season. Porter earned a starting spot last year and now looks to defend that position in training camp. Jabari Greer should have one of the starting spots locked up so the battle for that second starting spot should be between Jenkins and Porter. Either way, Porter is making this team.
Randall Gay rounds out the top four leading candidates to make the team at cornerback. Gay is arguably the most physical of the cornerback candidates but I'm not sure he has what it takes to start over Greer, Porter or Jenkins. Regardless, the local LSU product should have what it takes when push comes to shove.
Reggie Jones and Danny Gorrer are the two undrafted rookies coming into camp this year trying to crack the lineup. We don't know enough about their play to really adequately grade them and with such an improved cornerback squad, it would seem these two have very little chance of making this team. Also on the outside looking in is returning cornerback Leigh Torrence. The Saints brought him in last year when things started getting rough. Torrence was given the chance to contribute, particularly on special teams but with all of the upgrades in the secondary this off-season, things aren't looking good for Torrence.
All of this means that Jason David is now on the bubble and may finally be on the way out. Music to Who Dat's ears. David's saving grace, however, could be defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' new system. If Double G can find a way to better utilize David in his coverage schemes and in a way that better suites David's style of play then fans could see a whole other side of the cornerback. Otherwise it's bye-bye for JD and his fat contract.
All eyes will be on these guys when training camp opens this summer. At first glance there would appear to be no possible way not to see an improvement but stranger things have happened. How will this battle play out over the course of training camp? What are your thoughts?