The New Orleans Saints selected Nebraska Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste with their 2nd round (58th overall) pick. Jean-Baptiste was one of several defensive back prospects the Saints were thought to be high on in the build up to the draft. He visited the team's facilities last month, and the former Cornhusker was considered as a possible late first round pick by some analysts.
At 6-3 218, Jean-Baptiste brings a size advantage to his position. The former 'Husker possesses tremendous body control and balance when in coverage, two essential skills for a corner. With an impressive 41 1/2 inch vertical and a 10-8 broad jump, Jean-Baptiste has a unique athletic skill set to complement his size. After posting a 4.61 forty at the combine, Jean-Baptite improved his time down to 4.48 at Nebraska's pro day. His blend of leaping abilities, physicality, and size, help make him one of 2014's more highly regarded DB talents. Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Jean-Baptiste has traits that can help him see the field early and often in New Orleans. He has the size and skills to see some time at Safety, and could find a role in Rob Ryan's 4-2-5 package. The Saints, and their fans alike, were eager to bring in a top-end corner prospect to groom as a future starter opposite Keenan Lewis. Champ Bailey, who the Saints signed in free agency, figures to provide a solid number 2 corner if healthy. Jean-Baptiste could learn some of the tricks of the trade from the future Hall of Famer, while teaming with Patrick Robinson and Corey White to provide insurance and depth behind Bailey and Lewis. The former Cornhusker should also have an instant role on special teams as a rookie.
Jean-Baptiste improved and produced each season at Nebraska. He finished his career with totals of 74 tackles, 21 passes defensed, and 7 interceptions. He recorded a pick in each of his first four games of the 2013 season, returning one for a touchdown. His strengths during his time in Lincoln proved to be his ball skills and ability to locate and attack the Football. With many NFL teams trying to get bigger across the board in the secondary, Jean-Baptiste fits the profile of a tall, ball-hawking cover man that teams are on the lookout for. He will be 24 years old as a rookie, meaning his developmental and athletic upside may not be as high as other prospects, but teams like New Orleans love the combination of size and skills that Jean-Baptiste presents.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste has drawn lofty comparisons to the likes of Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, and a young Nnamdi Asomugha. The 2nd team All-Big Ten corner will now head to a New Orleans team that has met two needs with players high on their draft boards. Following Tampa Bay's selection of Mike Evans and Carolina's pick of Kelvin Benjamin last night, the Saints now have two more physical receivers to deal with at least twice a year, in addition to Roddy White, Julio Jones and Vincent Jackson. Jean-Baptiste's size once again comes in to play as the Saints look to combat the perimeter threats of their divisional foes.
Having moved up 7 spots to select Oregon State's Brandin Cooks last night in the first round, the Saints got the receiver they coveted, and now have a cover man they hope can develop into a potential starter down the road. New Orleans shipped their 3rd and 7th round picks to Arizona in order to move up and grab Cooks, and the Saints could look to move back into round three, but as of now have 4 picks remaining (91,126,167,169,202). With two high-end prospects in their bucket, the team can now focus on using their final picks to bring in talent to positions such as Linebacker, Defensive End and Center.
Day two done (for now). Two new Who-Dats who will look to shine in the Black and Gold for many years to come. Whatever tomorrow yields, the New Orleans Saints have come away with a nice two-man haul from days 1 and 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft.