It seems like the New Orleans Saints have been looking for a stable #2 cornerback pretty much ever since Tracy Porter left New Orleans in 2012.
Going back to the young Patrick Robinson days, the Brandon Browner days, and how could we ever forget the year some thought Ken Crawley might be the answer?
It looked like Jackrabbit Jenkins might be the guy after a solid 2020 year from the veteran, but it didn’t last.
But now with the emergence of Paulson Adebo, the rookie third round pick from Stanford, there is hope again.
Adebo showed some really nice flashes this season, displaying good ball skills and tracking abilities. He ended the year with a solid three interceptions and four pass break-ups – according to PFF.
-After his blown coverage cost us the first game against the Falcons, Paulson Adebo makes the most athletic defensive play of the season on this interception of Matt Ryan pic.twitter.com/x3ZadHpPN8— Evan Saacks (@evansaacks) January 10, 2022
It wasn’t all peaches and roses for the young boundary corner, however. A corner whose specialty is being physical in zone coverage, he got toasted a few times when manned up against guys with real speed.
He did allow a good bit of chunk plays, with 14.1 yards per reception and 733 total yards allowed when targeted in coverage. And he could get a bit handsy at times, getting called for a team-high seven penalties.
He did get better as the year went on, which is a good sign.
In Weeks 1-9, he was allowing the 12th-most yards (427) and yards per reception (15.8) in the league among 128 qualifying corners, along with four touchdown passes in his coverage.
This included the New York Giants game in Week 4 when he just got absolutely torched alive for 168 yards and a TD on 24 yards a catch when targeted.
In the second half of the year, things got much brighter.
In Weeks 10-18, he only allowed 306 yards on 12.2 yards per reception. And he allowed zero touchdowns, while picking off a pass and breaking up four passes.
His passer rating allowed when targeted also improved from 109.9 in the first half of the year to a mere 79.5 in the latter half.
Against the almighty Tom Brady in Week 15, he gave up zero catches and broke up a pass on two targets and was not penalized once.
That tells me that he figured some things out as the year went on.
It seems as though he learned how to use his physicality to his advantage to make up for not being a speedster, allowing him more opportunities to make plays on the ball – which is what he does best.
He might not have the top-flight speed you’d hope for, but his size, strength and superior ball skills give Dennis Allen and the Saints coaching staff a nice young piece to mold. And with as scheme-flexible of a coach Allen as can be, I’d assume he can find a way to get the most out of Adebo.
His career will be analyzed closely by Saints fans over the next few years, as people are now expecting him to be that #2 corner across from Marshon Lattimore. If he can be that level of player consistently, this Saints defense will be that much better.
So, let’s hope he can keep progressing as he did through his first season.
What do you think of Paulson Adebo? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @AndrewBell_98.