Friday, May 28, 2010

Saints Nation: Malcolm Jenkins Moved to Free Safety

The big news coming out of OTAs (organized team activities) today, besides the scary news that Jeremy Shockey suffered a seizure, was that cornerback Malcolm Jenkins was getting the bulk of his reps at free safety. Luckily Shockey seems to be fine and they don't expect it's anything overly serious, so let us focus on the latter news instead. If you read the quotes from the article link, it sounds like Jenkins is not officially a free safety as much as he's being moved all over the place. What I take from the news is that the Saints will get creative about ways to get Jenkins on the field this year. I do think Jenkins is being groomed as Darren Sharper's eventual full time replacement, but while Sharper is still on the team starting, Jenkins will play nickel corner, strong safety and free safety depending on the defensive package the Saints implement on any given play. His role in the defensive backfield in the SuperBowl made it clear the Saints count on him as a reliable playmaker on the back end. Most of you will remember he responded by playing a fantastic game.

This news does make life more difficult for Chip Vaughn, Usama Young and Pierson Prioleau. Why? Well, it means the Saints have one more player that's in the mix at free safety that they can use. Based on Jenkins' skill and promise, I think he's immediately thrust ahead of all those players in the pecking order. It means the three players above are going to see the field less in passing downs, and they're going to have to impress more on special teams. Keep an eye on how those 3 players perform in camp and preseason, because at least one will likely be cut before the 53 man roster is finalized.