Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste’s last name makes him a perfect fit for life in New Orleans, but he may actually have the Seahawks to thank for the Saints making him a second-round pick on Friday night.
Jean-Baptiste stands 6-3, making him the kind of tall cornerback that the Seahawks have been collecting for the last few years. The Saints have been doing the same, with Jean-Baptiste joining Champ Bailey and Keenan Lewis as corners listed at at least six feet tall. The Kenny Vaccaro/Jairus Byrd safety tandem is one of the better ones outside of Seattle and coach Sean Payton said that seeing the Seahawks over the last couple of years has helped the Saints focus on the secondary.
“Look, [the Seahawks have] got a fantastic secondary,” Payton said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “We’ve had a chance to see it firsthand. But I think it was trying to fit what we’re doing. A year and a half ago, starting before last year’s draft, we made an effort to really put a high value on size, and we’ve been able to do that defensively.”
Getting bigger makes sense for a team that saw its defense get pushed around a lot over the last few years and doing it in the secondary makes sense after seeing the way the Seahawks defensive backs led the way to a Super Bowl title. The pieces in New Orleans still need to execute, of course, but there are worse teams to follow when it comes to putting those pieces in place than the reigning Super Bowl champions.