Breaking Down the New Orleans Saints' Rookie Class: Stanley Jean-Baptiste

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Photo credit:  discoloredcurrenc of SaintsReport.com
The cover photo is a photoshop-created mockup of Stanley Jean-Baptiste returning an interception as a New Orleans Saint complete with his chosen jersey number.
(Photo-credit: discoloredcurrenc of SaintsReport.com).

Having traded away their third round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints had only one selection on the second day of picks on Friday, which was considered by most draft analysts to be the stretch where the depth of talent in this year’s rookie class resided. The pressure was on General Manager Mickey Loomis, Director of Player Personnel Ryan Pace, and College Scouting Director Rick Reiprish to hit on this selection – if they whiffed on it like an errant Malcolm Jenkins shoulder tackle, the Saints would have to wait 68 selections to make up for it.

Fortunately for themselves, the Saints organization, and fans on the edges of their seats nationwide, they failed to disappoint by selecting Stanley Jean-Baptiste, cornerback from Nebraska.

This was a moment of vindication for Saints message board draftniks all over the internet, many of whom (myself included) predicted the Saints would take a corner and a receiver in the first two rounds of the draft, though no consensus on the order they would be taken appeared. Jean-Baptiste was a great pick at the end of the second round both for the value of selecting in that spot and considering who was available – Missouri edge rusher Kony Ealy, Ohio State offensive tackle Jack Mewhort, and Penn State receiver Allen Robinson (who Jean-Baptiste ably defended in their 2013 meeting – more on that later) were all selected immediately after the Saints claimed the huge defensive back from Nebraska. Considering the Saints’ needs and the players available at their pick, I’m very happy with who they walked away with.

Jean-Baptiste is the latest in a line of exceptional physical specimens selected by the Saints and developed into all-star players. We can safely put his name up there with Jimmy Graham (2010 third round draft pick), Akiem Hicks (2012 third round draft pick) and Terron Armstead (2013 third round draft pick) as a tremendous athlete to be molded by the Saints’ coaching staff. Rob Ryan had this to say after Saturday’s practice session as part of the 2014 Saints rookie minicamps, per NewOrleansSaints.com:

“[Stanley Jean-Baptiste is] a tremendous athlete. He doesn’t just have size. He has everything. He’s just a little green for the position, but for us, he’s the perfect guy. Everybody believes in [Saints Defensive Backs Coach] Wesley McGriff and we believe we can make him into something special. He takes coaching very well. He’s only been out here three times, but he’s listening. It’s important to him. He wants to be part of something great and we’re really excited about him. Sean (Payton) and Mickey (Loomis) drafted us a great player and it’s our job as coaches to make sure that great player is playing great on Sunday.”

Just how good of an athlete is Jean-Baptiste? The chart below compares his 2014 NFL Combine measurements to those of similar cornerbacks in the league today including Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman, who Jean-Baptiste is regularly compared to. All data taken from NFLDraftScout.com and NFL.com/combine.

 

Ht

Wt

Arms

Hands

40-Y (10-Y/Stride)

Bench

Vertical

3-Cone

S. Jean-Baptiste

6′ 3″

218 lbs

32 3/8″

8 5/8″

4.55 (1.58/2.97) s

13

41 1/2″

6.69 s

R. Sherman

6′ 3″

195 lbs

32″

9 3/4″

4.54 (1.56/2.98) s

16

38″

6.72 s

D. Trufant

6′ 0″

190 lbs

31 1/4″

8 5/8″

4.38 (1.50/2.88) s

16

37 1/2″

6.67 s

X. Rhodes

6′ 1″

210 lbs

33 3/4″

9″

4.39 (1.55/2.84) s

14

40 1/2″

7.29 s

P. Peterson

6′ 0″

219 lbs

32″

9 1/4″

4.31 (1.49/2.82) s

15

38″

6.58 s

K. Lewis

6′ 0″

195

32 3/4″

9 3/4″

4.47 (1.53/2.94) s

19

33 1/2″

6.89 s

 

As you can see, Jean-Baptiste has a combination of height and weight not seen anywhere else on this list. Sherman is of similar height, but doesn’t possess his weight. Patrick Peterson, widely considered to be one of the most athletic players in the NFL, weighed in at the same range but did not have the ability to go vertical as well as Jean-Baptiste. Teammate Keenan Lewis was slightly faster, stronger, and has a wider wingspan, but can’t compete with Jean-Baptiste’s pure athleticism going up or moving horizontally. But then again, few can, and those that are able to do that are flocking to the NFC South in increasing numbers. Jean-Baptiste’s arrival could not come at a better time – with quarterbacks favoring jump ball passes to tall, big-bodied receivers in the red zone more than ever, Jean-Baptiste could be Rob Ryan’s kryptonite to those Supermen. Here are the players of rival squads he’ll be matching up with on a weekly basis compared to his own measurements (all data taken from NFLDraftScout.com and NFL.com/combine).

 

Ht

Wt

Arms

Hands

40-Y (10-Y/Stride)

Bench

Vertical

3-Cone

S. Jean-Baptiste

6′ 3″

218 lbs

32 3/8″

8 5/8″

4.55 (1.58/2.97) s

13

41 1/2″

6.69 s

J. Jones

6’ 3”

220 lbs

33 3/4”

9 3/4”

4.34 (1.50/2.84) s

17

38 1/2”

6.66 s

R. White

6’ 1”

207 lbs

31 5/8”

9 5/8”

4.46 (n/a) s

18

41”

7.12 s

L. Toilolo

6’ 8”

260 lbs

34 1/2″

10 1/4″

4.79 (1.69/3.10) s

17

31”

7.09 s

V. Jackson

6’ 4”

241 lbs

32”

9 5/8”

4.46 (1.57/2.89) s

23

39”

n/a

M. Evans

6’ 4”

231 lbs

35 1/8”

9 5/8”

4.46 (1.60/2.86) s

12

37”

7.08 s

A. Seferian-Jenkins

6’ 5”

262 lbs

33 3/4″

9 3/4″

4.50 (n/a) s

20

n/a

n/a

K. Benjamin

6’ 5”

240 lbs

34 7/8”

10 1/4″

4.61 (1.65/2.96) s

13

32 1/2″

7.33 s

G. Olsen

6’ 5”

254 lbs

32 3/8”

9 5/8”

4.51 (1.59/3.00) s

23

35 1/2″

7.04 s

 

That’s a heck of a basketball team. Jean-Baptiste will likely match up with these players twice per year in highly physical battles in the red zone. Fortunately for the Saints, he is well-equipped to handle them and should bring a welcome infusion of height and physicality to the Saints’ secondary – which is already brimming with physically imposing defensive backs such as Kenny Vaccaro and Keenan Lewis.

But what does Jean-Baptiste actually bring to the Saints?

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  • Cheri

    Impressive breakdown analysis! I was pleasantly suprised to see teams including the Saints draft structure positions as opposed to Key WR RB or even QB’s, and your analysis gives a clear understanding of how this will work in our favor. Well done! I for one look forward to your future publishings!!

  • Jimmy

    Good stuff! I just added Cover32 to my favorite sites.