Bringing back a series of pieces from the past three years, we’re going to check each position group on the New Orleans Saints and discuss how they improve the Saints’ chances of making a run in 2020. On to the what has become a strength on defense: the secondary.
To view previous parts, see below:
The New Orleans Saints cornerbacks had their ups and downs in 2019. Former Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore seemed to struggle as the level of competition decreased. Eli Apple largely regressed in 2019 to the point the Saints were forced to trade for Apple’s former teammate from New York Giants, Janoris Jenkins, mid-season. Jenkins and Apple both missed time due to injury, and the team was forced to rely on PJ Williams for in spot-start duty.
Patrick Robinson was expected to come in and man the slot, but he was placed on injured reserve in Week 3. Fortunately for the Saints, rookie C.J. Gardner-Johnson emerged as a potential star as a potential option in the slot.
Apple moved on to the Carolina Panthers, and as it stands now, the remaining corps group of Janoris Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore, CJ Gardner-Johnson, PJ Williams, and Patrick Robinson are all set to return in 2020.
So here’s why they’re better in 2020:
The biggest reason we can expect the Saints cornerbacks to be better in 2020 is because we should be expecting a full season of Janoris Jenkins instead of Eli Apple, and a healthy Patrick Robinson in the slot returning to allow CJ Gardner-Johnson to roam around the secondary.
While Patrick Robinson was often PRob-lematic for the Saints during his first stint with the team, he was able to reinvent himself as a slot defender for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Patrick Robinson pick-six (Inside The NFL) pic.twitter.com/hBHiLqJkvk— PJ Arcega-Whiteside (@PJbleedsgreen) January 24, 2018
We saw glimpses of Robinson’s ball skills with the Saints, but never consistently. Check out this play from 2017:
Patrick Robinson's 99-yard pick 6 vs the Eagles pic.twitter.com/ddXIWWSkKv— Lan. (@lphan_mpc) March 28, 2017
If Robinson could prove to be just half of what he was with the Eagles, the Saints will have a solid option to play in the slot. With proven veteran, PJ Williams, the Saints have a decent amount of depth at the cornerback position, and we’ve seen how important that can be in recent years. The Saints clearly must feel comfortable with their depth after releasing XFL’s interception leader Deatrick Nichols over the weekend.