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New Orleans Saints Undrafted Rookie Profile: Arthur Maulet

A closer look at new Saints free agent cornerback Arthur Maulet. Will a local kid return home?

Memphis v Mississippi Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Coming into the 2017 offseason, one of the greatest positions of need for the New Orleans Saints was the cornerback position. The team's struggles at the position in 2016 were well-chronicled. Top cover man Delvin Breaux missed the first half of the season after an opening day broken leg, and was not even close to 100 percent upon his return. P.J. Williams' season ended after just six quarters due to a severe concussion and neck injury. This after not playing a down in his 2015 rookie year because of a torn hamstring. Damian Swann, a surprise contributor as a rookie in 2015, missed the year with multiple concussion issues.

This forced a rookie undrafted free agent (Ken Crawley), and two players unsigned at the beginning of the year (Sterling Moore and B.W. Webb) to take the bulk of the snaps at one of football's most difficult positions. The issues at cornerback contributed to the Saints surrendering almost 274 yards per game through the air, ranking dead last in the league.

New Orleans came into the offseason with a number of ways to answer all of their cornerback questions. Chief among them was their heavily rumored interest in obtaining New England restricted free agent Malcolm Butler. Reportedly, negotiations with the Patriots were ongoing from late February right up to the draft, with neither side reaching an agreement. After the Saints elected to pass on a number of other options in free agency, including a reported interest in the Rams Trumaine Johnson, it was assumed that New Orleans would take an investment in one of the highly regarded cornerbacks in the draft.

That assumption proved correct, when the Saints took the top rated cover man available, Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore, with the 11th overall selection in the first round. Despite other top talent available, the Saints did not select another cornerback with any of their remaining six draft picks that weekend; wisely choosing instead to address other glaring needs.

Today's player profile focuses on one of the young men that New Orleans signed to a contract immediately after the draft concluded. This undrafted free agent could very well add to the lineage of undrafted college players who have put their mark throughout Saints history, and help out a position certainly in need of star power: former Memphis cornerback Arthur Maulet.

Arthur Maulet grew up in Louisiana and attended high school at Bonnabel H.S. in Kenner, La where he excelled in basketball and soccer as well as football. After attending a community college in Mississippi for two years, Maulet finished out his junior and senior years at the University of Memphis, starting 21 out of the 26 games he played. Maulet had a stellar senior season for the Tigers. He had 72 tackles, including 7.5 for loss, to go along with two interceptions and even adding 4.5 sacks. His four career interceptions came along with a touchdown return and a penchant for making big break ups at crucial moments in games.

Maulet does not possess ideal height for the cornerback position. He’s officially listed at 5-foot-10 in height, although his combine and pro day measurements were actually a bit over 5'9 1/2” . He does tend to struggle staying stride for stride with his receiver on deep patterns down the field, and does not excel in press coverage.

Maulet will likely be most effective as a slot cornerback in man-to-man responsibilities, and in off coverage along the outside. He possesses explosive jumping ability, and has excellent reaction to make plays in front of him. His leaping ability allows him to challenge bigger receivers, even on high point throws. Enjoys "baiting" the quarterback; setting up the underneath throws to make a break on the ball. Has the potential to be an outstanding blitzer; Maulet reads the opposition's backfield well, takes straight line pursuit to the ball, and is a fundamentally sound tackler. He brings a perfect mentality to the cornerback position; a confident and aggressive approach to every play combined with the refusal to back down physically from any receiver.

Jabari Greer, arguably the best cornerback in team history, was originally an undrafted free agent with Buffalo. Last year's Saints squad saw rookies Ken Crawley and De'Vante Harris make the team after not being drafted. Consider that players throughout the league such as Chris Harris Jr., A.J. Bouye, Malcolm Butler, Brent Grimes, and Sam Shields have been outstanding cornerbacks, and all were undrafted coming out of college.

In one of the most intriguing and entertaining position battles on the team, expect Arthur Maulet to be in the thick of the competition for a roster spot at cornerback for the New Orleans Saints.