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Lattimore wins unprecedented second Rookie of the Month

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No defensive back has ever won the award twice.

NEW ORLEANS, LA:  New Orleans Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) prepares for play to start during a game against the New York Jets offense at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
NEW ORLEANS, LA: New Orleans Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) prepares for play to start during a game against the New York Jets offense at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Marshon Lattimore has set a new record for the New Orleans Saints. He was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Month for December, which is his second recognition for that award (he was previously named Rookie of the Month for October). That’s the first time in the history of Rookie of the Month honors (going back to 1996) that a defensive back has won it twice in one year. How impressive is that?

The legend of Lattimore has been great to see. The Saints spent years looking for that blue-chip talent at cornerback, chasing established names like Josh Norman, Malcolm Butler, Trumaine Johnson, and always coming up lame. As fate would have it, they’ve been lucky enough to land an elite cornerstone through the draft.

Rookie success has been the story of this Saints season. Lattimore and running back Alvin Kamara have combined to win 11 of the 16 Rookie of the Week awards voted on by fans, while offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk and defensive back Marcus Williams have been graded among the top ten rookies by Pro Football Focus (for what it’s worth to you). Ramczyk leads the Saints in total snaps played (1129) while Williams is third on the team and first among all defensive players (1070). The Saints have asked a lot of their rookie class, and they’ve proven to be up to the task.

So this second Rookie of the Month honor further cements Lattimore as the favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and rightfully so. He’s changed the defense’s style of play with every start, and put up the stats and teaching-tape to wow fans of every stripe. There will be some debate over whether Lattimore is more deserving of the final recognition than Buffalo Bills cornerback TreDavious White, but it’s not a good sign for White that Lattimore posted more pass disruptions (23, including five interceptions) despite taking 341 fewer snaps.

So bring on the playoffs. Lattimore missed both contests against the Carolina Panthers this year, and should be a major factor in Dennis Allen’s game-planning for this postseason title run. Maybe this newest accolade will help motivate Lattimore even further.