New Orleans Saints: Why to watch Corey White during training camp

The New Orleans Saints have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL as training camp approaches. Surely many eyes will be on prized free agent Jairus Byrd and first rounder Brandin Cooks, as well as established stars like Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham. However, besides the well-known commodities, Saints fans should look out for 3rd year cornerback Corey White.

Drafted in the 5th round in 2012, White has always been confident in his abilities. The day he was drafted he tweeted about how excited he was to intercept Brees in practice. That was when it wasn’t clear whether or not he was even going to make the roster. This season he will definitely make the roster and has a chance to take his career to the next level.

Going into the 2013 season, Corey White was the 4th string cornerback behind Keenan Lewis, Jabari Greer, and Patrick Robinson. Unfortunately for the defense, the injury bug bit hard, claiming Greer and Robinson as victims. After losing those two for the season, White was thrust unexpectedly into the crucial number two cornerback spot.

He had a rough start in his first start against the Atlanta Falcons and was the focus of the fan base’s misdirected venom. White did show improvement as the season progressed; he showed his true potential in a Week 14 performance against the Carolina Panthers where he was Pro Football Focus’s highest graded corner of the week, not allowing a reception the entire game.

And his task of holding down the right side of the field was made even more arduous with the outstanding play of Keenan Lewis. With Lewis shutting down one side of the field, offenses had no choice to pick on and target White.

Going into the 2014 season, the Saints signed future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey and drafted Stanley Jean-Baptiste in 2nd round. The excitement surrounding those two prospects, and the impending return of Robinson, has left White as a somewhat forgotten man in the most heated positional battle.

Bailey is aging and coming off an injury plagued season, while Jean-Baptiste, though extremely athletic, is too raw to be relied on at this moment. This leaves White as a very logical choice to fill the void, since he has the most experience in Rob Ryan’s system and still has plenty of upside.

Despite the crowded competition at cornerback, White should not be overlooked as the potential day one starter.  But for any of that to be possible it is going to have to start with a strong showing in camp.