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New Orleans Saints rookie cornerback Alontae Taylor finds kindred spirits in the secondary

"I've always been that kid who always does extra work"

New Orleans Saints defensive back Alontae Taylor practices his defensive skills at the team's 2022 OTA practices on May 26, 2022 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

It's obvious that Alontae Taylor is a quick study, because it didn't take long for the New Orleans Saints' second-round pick to find the right teammate to work with before and after practice.

The rookie cornerback simply looked on the field and found that Paulson Adebo – the Saints' third-round pick from last season and a starter at cornerback as a rookie – was a kindred spirit. And so, post-OTAs practice, the two of them can be found on an end of the practice field in the end zone, working on techniques.

"I saw (Adebo) one day, we had workouts and then afterward, he was out there on the field," Taylor said. "I've always been that kid who always does extra work and I saw him doing it and I was like, OK, that's somebody that does the same thing that I do.

"I went up to him and I just asked him, 'Do you mind if I join in?' He was like, 'Of course.' So we work on small detail stuff; we work on press-man (coverage) all the time. We do it every day after practice, we do it before practice as well. A guy who's going into his second year, but he's taken me under his wing. I kind of look at him as a big brother right now."

But the big brother sees the benefit flowing both ways.

"He's teaching me some stuff, too," Adebo said. "He's a great athlete, smart, instinctive, good ball skills. Some things I teach him, some things he teaches me as well.

"I was out, he came in and was like, 'Hey, let me jump in.' And I'm the same way. Sometimes I see him, and I'm like, 'Hey, let me jump in.' He's definitely wired that way, and he's going to be great."

If not immediate greatness, the Saints definitely are banking on contribution and production from the No. 49 overall pick. Though Taylor is capable of playing multiple positions in the secondary, he currently has been given one position assignment, while being told to be aware of the responsibilities of others.

"I'm just playing corner right now," he said. "Coach is kind of reminding me to understand nickel, and see if I can understand the safety position as well. So I'm taking notes on all positions and going back to the hotel room and breaking those positions down."

The mental reps at other positions, rather than physical reps, have taken some getting used to.

"It's totally different, for sure," Taylor said. "So I just kind of watch the other guys. When (veteran safety) Tyrann (Mathieu) is here, I talk to him. He sits in front of me during meetings, so I ask him questions on what he's doing and why he's doing it that way. Good, veteran guys to help me out as a young guy."

The help is appreciated by a young teammate who's eager to learn.

"It's really just understanding the playbook, understanding technique, details," Taylor said. "The biggest thing I've been doing is just kind of going in there, watching my technique every day. Coaches have been talking to me about that. It's new, but easy for me to understand and learn."

New Orleans Saints players participated in the team's 2022 OTA practices on June 2, 2022 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

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