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Brandon Browner was terrible. After being a part of back-to-back Super Bowl Champion teams with the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, Browner was expected to do good things in New Orleans. If "good things" meant "penalties and blown coverage," then he surely succeeded. Browner set an NFL record last year in penalties, and was mercifully released this offseason.
For almost as terrible as Browner was, Delvin Breaux was a pleasant surprise in 2015. Breaux, a Louisiana native, burst onto the scene last year, and was named one of the Top 101 players in all of the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
"Injuries" was the word of the season for Saints cornerbacks in 2015, though. Keenan Lewis was placed on IR in November with a leg injury and has yet to play a full season in New Orleans. Damian Swann suffered three concussions in 2015 and P.J. Williams is only just now recovering from a torn hamstring. The healthiest cornerback on the Saints roster heading into 2016 (the player who presents the least fear of ending up on the IR at some point next season) is Breaux, a player who almost died in football when he broke his neck in 2006.
So here's why they're better in 2016:
The Saints are better at Cornerback in 2016 because they no longer have Brandon Browner.
Thank-you. Have a good night. Tip the wait staff.
Roll end credits.
But seriously. The Saints are set to begin the 2016 season with a healthy group of young Cornerbacks, two of which have proven to be above-average at times in Lewis and Breaux. While Lewis is in decline, we seem to just be getting the start of Breaux's bright NFL future. "Lockdown Corner" is an overused phrase, but we could very well see Breaux evolve into such a player.
Even if Lewis continues his decline, or if or when the inevitable injury occurs, the Saints have two bright, young Cornerbacks in P.J. Williams and Damian Swann who will both be looking to take massive steps forward next year. We saw brief instances of their potential, and there are plenty of teams who would love a healthy duo of Breaux and Williams at Cornerback over their starters.
Breaux is already proving to be a potential Pro Bowl-caliber Corner, and when he is targeted less in 2016, it will fall on Keenan Lewis and P.J. Williams to step up. In any case, between those three players and Damian Swann, the Saints have a group of four quality Corners. We just need to hope for a healthy season for all of them.