The New Orleans Saints have one of the youngest secondaries in the NFL. Cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple, both top-12 draft choices, are 23 years old and possess less than four years of NFL experience. Safeties Marcus Williams and Vonn Bell, both second round draft picks, are 22 and 24 years old respectively, and also have less than four years in the NFL. Reserve cornerbacks Justin Hardee, P.J. Williams, and Ken Crawley are all under 26, and also less than four years of playing experience, leaving Patrick Robinson (31) and Chris Banjo (29) as the elder statesmen of the unit. The Saints added more youth on the back end in this year's draft, adding safeties Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Saquan Hampton in the fourth and sixth rounds. Another player trying to latch on to a roster spot among these talented players is the subject of today's undrafted player profile.
Jordan Wyatt, CB (S.M.U.)
Wyatt would attend Southern Methodist University after being a three sport star --football, basketball, and track-- at East High School in Texas. He would redshirt the 2014 season, but would be a starter over the next four years. His first season of action saw him grab 2 interceptions and forcing a fumble while netting 31 tackles. Wyatt would star in his second season with the Mustangs, racking up 50 tackles, including 3 for loss, also forcing 4 fumbles and intercepting 4 passes, returning two for scores. His ballhawking continued in 2017, as he again intercepted 4 passes and returned two for touchdowns, as well as returning a fumble recovery for a score and adding 4.5 tackles for loss among his 49 stops. Wyatt was hampered in 2018 by an ACL injury suffered near the end of the '17 season, along with hamstring issues throughout the year, and was limited to just one interception and 16 tackles in eight games. He would finish his S.M.U. career by being the school's record holder with five defensive touchdowns and 209 return yards on 11 interceptions. Wyatt did not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, but showed he was fully recovered from his injuries by running a 4.59 40-yd. dash and 4.13 20-yd. shuttle at his pro day.
Jordan Wyatt has decent height for a cornerback, coupled with good speed and leaping ability. He mirrors receivers well in man coverage, and possesses the athleticism to stay stride for stride with any wideout. Wyatt finds the ball quickly while in the air, and has excellent anticipation and ball reaction skills. He is a combative defender, who will fight for every ball. He plants and drives well on plays in front of him, and has the playmaking skills to create turnovers.
Wyatt plays physically, but has a slender build that could cause a match up problem against bigger receivers, and must get also stronger in run support. He is a bit tight hipped in his reaction to a receiver's breaks, and his gambling style leaves him vulnerable at times to double moves.
The Saints have dipped into the S.M.U. pipeline with some success in recent history. One of the best punters in the league and arguably team history Thomas Morstead is a former Mustang. Other current Saints with S.M.U. ties include safety Banjo, fullback Zach Line, and long snapper Zach Wood, along with former Saints Josh LeRibeus and Sterling Moore. Jordan Wyatt will have an uphill battle to make the New Orleans roster in a secondary full of highly regarded players. His best fit initially could be as a slot corner though, an area that the Saints defense has struggled in recent seasons. He has outstanding speed and has a combative style of play. Lattimore, Apple, and Robinson are former high draft picks whose roster spots are secure at cornerback. Crawley and Hardee are each former undrafted players who have both had a degree of success with New Orleans at the position though, and are the very players that Wyatt must now outplay for a roster position. He may have a shot to do just that, if he displays the playmaking ability he showed in college, one of the few things missing as a whole from a talented Saints defensive backfield.