New Orleans has a huge void at the cornerback position, but it comes in a draft year with a deep crop of incoming rookie corners. Marshon Lattimore is one of the NFL's best, but the offseason release of Janoris Jenkins robbed the team of one of the league's best number two corners.
The New Orleans Saints added a little-known free agent wide receiver named Joe Horn away from the Kansas City in 2000. Horn had 94 receptions for 1,340 yards and 8 touchdowns in his first year with the Saints, far surpassing his four-year career totals with Kansas City.
Seven years, five seasons of at least 900 yards receiving, four Pro Bowls, and a litany of team records later, Horn left as one of the most popular players in franchise history. He had 523 receptions for 7,622 yards and 50 touchdowns during his New Orleans career after entering the league as a 5th round draft choice from Itawamba College in Mississippi.
One of Horn's sons, Jaycee Horn, will enter the NFL with much more fanfare than his father. However, just like Joe once ignited a downtrodden New Orleans receiving corps, Jaycee could complete a talented Saints defensive backfield.
JAYCEE HORN, CORNERBACK (SOUTH CAROLINA)
Pro Day 40m = 4.39
NFL.com Comparison (Lance Zierlein):
Jimmy Smith (Ravens)
Jaycee Horn was a four-star recruit out Alpharetta (Ga) High School. He spurned offers from traditional powers such as Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Ohio State to choose the Gamecocks, where he started as a true freshman.
Horn broke up 8 passes in 2018, recording 4 tackles for loss and 2 sacks on his way to All-SEC Freshman honors. He established himself among the nation's best defensive backs as a sophomore in 2019. He'd break up 9 throws, forcing 2 fumbles, and recording 2 tackles for loss and a sack.
Horn solidified himself among the top corners in this year's draft class with another outstanding campaign in 2020. He opted out of the remainder of the season in mid-November, but broke up six passes and had 2 interceptions. Despite playing in just seven games, he was voted 2nd team All-SEC.
Capable of shadowing a wideout from any spot in the formation, like he did throughout his collegiate career with the top weapons in the SEC. There are very few weaknesses in Horn's game. Critics will point to his lack of turnovers forced. Horn had just two career interceptions, both against Auburn last season.
He’s an extremely physical defender, even downfield, which can cause penalties. Horn can also be too reliant on his athleticism and be a bit slow to turn his hips on a route. He is also more apt to take a read-and-react role in run support, instead of taking on lead blockers.
Horn is equally effective in every coverage scheme. He has outstanding recognition ability and a terrific burst to the football when a play is in front of him. His prototypical size, along with his strength and combination of fluid movement and explosive athleticism, make him an ideal press corner.
He has elite awareness to the surrounding action while staying locked to his receiver. Horn looks to physically dominate his opponent, but has the ability to stay with the NFL's best athletes anywhere on the field. He should be an immediate starter for the team that drafts him and has the blend of talent to be among the league's elite corners quickly.
It took Joe Horn five NFL seasons to be a star. For son Jaycee, it may not take that long. The New Orleans Saints would need to trade up in the 1st round to grab this top cornerback. If they do, Jaycee Horn would fill a huge team need, and perhaps take a place alongside his father among the franchise's all-time greats.