Friday, May 9, 2014
Saints pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste in 2nd
By Mike Triplett
METAIRIE, La. -- The pick: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
My take: This seems like another terrific fit for the New Orleans Saints. They filled another top need, and they appeared to get great value in a guy that some analysts thought might even sneak into Round 1 because of his upside. Jean-Baptiste (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) has that size so many teams in the NFL have begun to covet in the wake of the Seattle Seahawks' success with big corners, and he has drawn a lot of physical comparisons to Richard Sherman -- though he's still a raw prospect with a ways to develop. ESPN analyst Todd McShay, who had Jean-Baptiste rated 40th overall on his board, said Jean-Baptiste has a chance to be a steal.
If you can't beat 'em
The Saints have been first in line this offseason among teams that are happily willing to follow the Seahawks' blueprint. New Orleans' first big, bold move of the offseason was to spend big in free agency on ball hawking safety Jairus Byrd (the closest thing available to Seattle's Earl Thomas). They also took a flier on future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey in free agency and ponied up to keep physical safety Rafael Bush from leaving as a restricted free agent. Throw in last year's big free-agent signing, cornerback Keenan Lewis, and last year's first-round pick, safety Kenny Vaccaro, and you might have the most loaded secondary east of Seattle. I'm not immediately penciling in Jean-Baptiste ahead of Bailey, Corey White or Patrick Robinson in the starting lineup just yet, but the Saints are loaded with options -- something versatile defensive coordinator Rob Ryan must love.
What's next: The Saints traded away their third-round pick, so they could either stay patient for the rest of the night or use their extra fifth-round pick to move back up if they love a specific player. Their biggest remaining need is for depth at the guard and center positions. They could also use some young developmental talent at linebacker. But from this point on, it will be more about stockpiling talent for the future than trying to fill immediate needs. The Saints currently have four picks remaining (a fourth, two fifths and a sixth).