I’m ranking the top 20 New Orleans Saints players leading up to training camp. It’s based on their current value – meaning both past accomplishments and potential are taken into account. Think, who would you want on the field most in Week 1 this season?
At No. 16, it’s cornerback Champ Bailey
Profile: Year 16, Age 36, 6-foot, 192 pounds
Analysis: Frankly, it’s almost impossible to decide where Bailey belongs on a list like this at this stage of his career – especially since we’ve never seen him play a snap with the Saints. But I figure the future Hall of Famer has enough skins on the wall to earn this ranking. And I don’t rule out the possibility that Bailey could play well enough in 2014 alone to earn this spot.
Last year, Bailey’s season was virtually wiped out by a foot injury, but he still stepped up big in the Denver Broncos’ AFC Championship Game victory over the New England Patriots. And now he looks healthy and energized while still chasing that elusive first Super Bowl ring with the Saints.
Bailey will have to earn the No. 2 starting job ahead of some other worthy competitors like Corey White, Patrick Robinson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Rod Sweeting. But the Saints clearly have a vision for how he’ll fit in Rob Ryan’s defense. Even in recent years he has continued to show those great ball skills that were arguably the best in the NFL for nearly a decade.
Bailey, a 12-time Pro Bowler and member of the 2000s all-decade team, racked up 52 career interceptions with the Washington Redskins and Denver. If you missed it, check out this retrospective I wrote on Bailey's stellar career earlier this month.
No. 19 WR Kenny Stills
No. 18 S Rafael Bush
No. 17 LB David Hawthorne