Below is an overview of the cornerback and safety position for the Saints heading into training camp. All four starters return as well as all of the participants in nickel and dime packages and key special teams contributors.
DEFENSIVE BACKS (14) Returners:CB Randall Gay, S Chip Vaughn, CB Tracy Porter, CB Leigh Torrence, S Malcolm Jenkins, S Usama Young, S Pierson Prioleau, CB Jabari Greer, S Reggie Jones, S Chris Reis, S Roman Harper, S Darren Sharper Offseason veteran addition:CB Danny Gorrer (WAI-StL) Draft choices/Rookie free agents:CB Patrick Robinson (D-1)Departures from 2009:CB Greg Fassitt, * *
WORTH NOTHING: The secondary is led by 14-year veteran Sharper.In his first season as a Saint, he tied for the NFL lead in both interceptions (9) and picks returned for a TD (3), tying a career high in the former category. His outstanding season earned him a starting spot in the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in his career.
Harper* *teamed with Sharper to give the Saints one talented duo in the deepest reaches of the secondary. The Alabama alum earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2009 after a career-best 127 tackles, which ranked second on the squad.
Jenkinsand Youngwill also compete at safety after both came into the league as cornerbacks. The two will battle for playing time in dime packages. Jenkins played in 14 games with six starts as a rookie in 2009. He recorded 51 tackles (41 solo) with one interception and five pass defenses. Jenkins was a special teams standout, making nine tackles and forcing two fumbles, one of which he recovered.
In his first season as a safety, Young appeared in 12 games with one start in 2009 He finished with nine tackles (seven solo) and added six stops and a fumble recover on special teams.
Prioleau, Reis and Torrence are three of the top special teams players on the club having combined for 44 tackles among the three of them.
Greer and Porter* *have solidified themselves at the corner positions. The Saints went 11-0 in 2009 when both were in the starting lineup.
In his first season as a Saint, Greer recorded a career-high 53 tackles and career-best-tying two interceptions, one returned for a TD. Despite missing seven games with a sports hernia injury, he finished second on the club with 12 passes defensed.
Porternotched 69 tackles (50 solo), four interceptions, with one returned for a touchdown. He entrenched himself in Saints lore with his play in the 2009 postseason. In the NFC Championship game against Minnesota, he picked off a Brett Favre pass near the end of regulation at the New Orleans 22-yard line, which helped lead the Saints to their dramatic overtime victory. In Super Bowl XLIV, he read a Payton Manning pass perfectly and returned it for 74 yards for a touchdown to increase New Orleans' lead to 31-17 with 3:12 remaining in the contest.
Gay* *has proven to be one of the squad's most versatile defenders since joining the Saints in 2008. He can start at left and right cornerback, open in the nickel package and also having started at free safety in his career. In 2009, he played 14 games, started seven and had 37 tackles, a sack, an interception and six pass defenses.
The Saints used their first pick in the 2010 draft to select Robinson* *with the final pick of the first round. He possesses an impressive combination of speed to keep up with the fastest wide receivers and outstanding ball skills. As a senior at Florida State, Robinson was a second-team All-ACC selection after recording a career-high 52 tackles, three stops for a loss, which adding two forced fumbles and 11 passes defensed.