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After dropping 2011 third-round pick Johnny Patrick earlier this week, the New Orleans Saints weakened their cornerback depth. Production at the spot was not altered negatively, however. If anything, dropping Patrick in and of itself is a victory.
Still, the team has questions at the spot. Is Jabari Greer still good enough to warrant a roster spot, much less a starting spot? Is Corey White ready to start? Mostly, is Patrick Robinson ready to step up and play like the No. 1 corner that he’ll be expected to be in 2013?
If the answer to any of those questions is “No,” the team must make a move on a guy to take that spot. Even if the team answers in the affirmative to each question, a first-round corner could be a possibility in April’s draft.
Let’s assume the team wants to save itself some more cap space and is ready to move on from veteran Jabari Greer. Elbert Mack could step in as the full-time nickel corner in 2013. Even so, for depth purposes, another corner—equal to Mack, if not better—is a necessary add.
Best Free-Agent Option: Alan Ball, Houston Texans
Alan Ball played under Wade Phillips the past two seasons in Houston. Phillips’ coverage schemes are similar to the ones employed by new Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Ball competed at all times for Houston.
In fact, he is a cost-effective improvement who will not start but provide quality veteran depth at the corner spot.