In this installment we will take a look at the secondary. For the first time it what seems like forever I am excited about the secondary.
Cornerback looks a lot different than this time last year. Gone is fan favorite Mike McKenzie and Aaron Glenn, they have been replaced by free agent signing Jabari Greer and our first round pick Malcolm Jenkins.
Promising Tracy Porter is also back after missing 11 games last season due to a dislocated wrist, he should be back pushing for a starting job in his second season. Randall Gay and Leigh Torrence who has played for Greg Williams are also back.
The best thing about this group this year appears to be versatility. Porter and Greer are our burners and Jenkins and Gay are the more physical corners, thus giving the Saints and Williams the ability to match up better depending on the opponent.
Tracy Porter showed a lot last season winning the starting job as a rookie and was improving each game until he was lost for the season. Jabari Greer who I expect to be the other starter this year was signed away from the Buffalo Bills, original and undratfed rookie out of Tennessee he won the starting job and was even able to hold off Bills first round pick Leodis McKelvin last year. Like Porter, Greer has blazing speed and the two of them should be able to stay with even the fastest of receivers.
Randall Gay was signed last year from the Patriots and was a solid and steady performer as not only the nickelback but as the starter when he has to take over due to injuries. The LSU product should again go back to his spot as the nickelback and occasional starter depending on the match-up needs.
Malcolm Jenkins whom the Saints drafted in the first round will start off in camp as the number four corner, but he has the ability to move up the depth chart very quickly. Jenkins is a big corner 6-1 202 that plays a more physical style of coverage much like former Saint, Mike McKenzie.
The 5th corner is Leigh Torrence, who was picked up mid season after being cut by the Redskins, Torrence is familiar with Greg Williams, when Williams had a stint in Washington. He is more of a special teams player but can come in when needed at cornerback.
Look for Greer and Porter to be the starters, with Gay and Jenkins being in the rotation and Torrence being the 5th corner; Jason David right now looks to be the odd man out. If the Saints need someone to come in as a 6th corner they always have Usama Young who can fill that role.
Safety is by far a much-improved position over last even if right now it’s only on paper. One major change is there is no longer strong and free safety designations now there are simply safeties. Gone is the horrendous duo of Kevin Kaesviharn and Josh Bullocks.
The replacements are veteran Darren Sharper and Pierson Prioleau, Shaprer is the active NFL leader in interceptions and Williams is familiar with Prioleau with his time in Jacksonville. Payton and Williams didn’t stop here either they moved cornerback Usama Young to safety and drafted Chip Vaughn in the 4th round. Roman Harper should get back on track now that he has some talent around him. Chris Reis is the current backup at safety.
The addition of Sharper was a great move by the staff, while he is past his prime he brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the secondary and will be a coach on the field and unlike his predecessors he is not a liability on the field.
Usama Young looks to be the number 2 guy here once he gets a feel for the position. He has a great size and speed combination plus isn’t afraid to hit and has an aggressiveness needed to succeed at the position.
Pierson Prioleau looks to be more of an insurance signing at this point, but should make the initial 53-man roster as Young continues to develop.
Chip Vaughn our 4th round pick could end up being a steal a big safety 6-2 221, he has the size and athleticism to become and contributor and even make an impact.
The projected lineup at safety looks to be Sharper and Harper as the starters with Prioleau, Young and Vaughn being in the rotation and Chris Reis being the odd man up.
On paper this looks like the best secondary we have had in a long time if not ever, this is a group worthy of getting excited about.