The New Orleans Saints used their second-round selection on cornerback Alontae Taylor, a somewhat high price for a position of strength on defense. Taylor is known as a fast, physical corner who plays at a very motor when it comes to special teams. We are going to take a deeper dive into what Taylor will bring to the Saints in both aspects of the game and why he has potential to develop into an impactful player in the future.
The first thing that stood out to me when watching Taylor was his closing speed. When he is able to put his foot in the ground and break on the ball, he is one of the fastest players coming out of this year's draft. His 4.36 40 time speaks for that claim itself.
You can see in the plays below hard he drives on the football as soon as he gets his foot planted.
The same exact thing can be said when he needs to make an open field tackle.
Taylor approaches this part of the game the same way. When he sees it, he is quick to put his foot in the ground and deliver punishing blows to opposing receivers.
It’s clear to see why the Saints were interested in this type of player. At 6’1 just about 200 lbs, who is physical and can run is something the team is attracted to. Between Lattimore, Adebo and Taylor, each of them are over 6’0, over 190 lbs+ & have each run sub 4.45 40’s with the exception of Bradley Roby being 5’11 but despite an inch, his every metric. A fun note is that, Taylor and Lattimore share the exact same 40 time as well which is interesting. Here is how their measurables stack up against one another.
Marshon Lattimore - 6’0 - 192 lbs. - 4.36 40
Paulson Adebo - 6’1 - 198 lbs. - 4.42 40
Bradley Roby - 5’11 - 194 lbs. - 4.39 40
Alontae Taylor - 6’1 - 199 lbs. - 4.36 40
Clear trend in my opinion.
Many were skeptical on the pick including myself just because it is an early investment at a position of strength but I can 100% see what the team loves in the player. Some of the stuff we did not talk about is the fact that he was a team captain, a 4-year starter, has position flexibility and is still young playing the cornerback position. Much like Paulson Adebo, Taylor started his career out playing quarterback then switching to wide receiver before he got his chance of defense. Seeing how Adebo has flashed at many points last season should give Saints fans some hope in being able to develop this player. He does have things he has to work through such as hip stiffness and not having as much fluidity in that area but there are things you can do schematically to overcome those flaws.
To sum it up, high investment comes with high expectations at some. It will be interesting to see if we will see Taylor really push Paulson Adebo for a starting role this season.