Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
Keenan Lewis mans the Saints’ No. 1 cornerback position, and he’s looking to build on an excellent 2013 season.
The No. 2 spot, however, is still very much up in the air.
Corey White, Patrick Robinson and Champ Bailey are all competing for the starting position on the outside, and all three have a realistic shot at earning the job.
White filled in for the injured Jabari Greer midway through the season last year, and he experienced both peaks and valleys. He finished the season with 41 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, while gaining valuable playing experience.
Robinson, meanwhile, missed most of last season with a knee injury. He was the Saints’ first-round draft choice in 2010, but he’s struggled for the better part of his time in New Orleans. He’s yet to play a full season under second-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, however, and 2014 could be the year in which he finally puts it all together.
As for Bailey, the 12-time Pro Bowler undoubtedly has bundles of wisdom to impart to White and Robinson, but he isn’t ready to bow out and hand over the job just yet. The former Denver Bronco endured an injury-riddled campaign in 2013, and he’ll be looking to remove the bitter taste of last season’s devastating Super Bowl loss from his mouth.
Whoever emerges victorious in this camp battle will receive the responsibility of taking on the opposition’s No. 2 wideout each week, and more and more NFL teams—including NFC South rivals Tampa Bay and Atlanta—are featuring two or more playmakers at wide receiver. That’s why it’s important for Payton, Ryan and the New Orleans coaching staff to make the right decision from the get-go.