Marshon Lattimore and Paulson Adebo formed a shutdown duo of cornerbacks for the New Orleans Saints in 2021. Lattimore is one of the NFL's best, able to lock up an opponent’s best receiver one-on-one and eliminate them from the game.
Adebo was a third-round pick last year that was a perfect complement. He flashed Pro Bowl potential with his ball skills and coverage ability.
Bradley Roby was acquired with an early season trade. His snaps were limited because of Adebo's development, but Roby is a starting quality corner that provides outstanding depth against deeper wide receiver units. The Saints added even more depth with the selection of Tennessee CB Alontae Taylor in the second round of this year’s draft.
Earning a job as a Saints cornerback looks to be an uphill battle in 2022. However, don't rule out the subject of today's undrafted rookie profile.
DAMARCUS FIELDS, CB
A talented football player and strong 100m and 200m at Taylor High School in Texas, Fields elected to attend college in his home state. After redshirting his first year, he'd intercept one pass and break up seven others in 2017. He’d follow that up with 10 pass breakups, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 2 forced fumbles in 2018.
Fields intercepted 3 passes in 2019. He broke up five others, plus recorded six tackles for loss and a sack. He didn't record an interception in 2020, but was credited with 10 passes broken up.
Granted a fifth year of eligibility in 2021, Fields was named 2nd Team All-Big 12 with nine pass breakups and four tackles for loss. He finished his Red Raiders career with 41 passes broken up, fourth in Big 12 history, 4 interceptions, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 8 fumbles forced or recovered.
A strong defender with good athletic ability, Fields was undrafted because of a few areas of his game needing improvement quickly. He has poor press technique, often getting thrown off balance when a receiver releases off the line. Despite his speed, he doesn't have a fluid change of direction and struggles against shifty wideouts.
Fields frequently gets caught looking in the backfield to read the quarterback. Sharp route runners give him fits, and he often bites on double moves. When in off-ball coverage, he can get frozen on rub routes and last-minute motion into his zones.
Fields has the build-up speed to stay with any receiver down the field. His long stride gives him good range and allows him to make up ground quickly in zones. He has good ball skills to break up balls in man coverage and plays physical on contested throws.
Fields shows natural field awareness in zones and off-ball duties. He has a lightning break on the ball once thrown and expertly baits quarterbacks into a mistake. His movements off the line of scrimmage are decisive, and he’ll aggressively charge forward in run support.
DaMarcus Fields faces stiff odds to make the Saints roster as a rookie. New Orleans looks set at the cornerback spot and has a deep crew of safeties strong in man coverage duties. Fields seems most likely suited for a spot on the practice squad as a developmental project.
With his play strength and instincts off the ball, Fields may also transition to safety. He has outstanding ball skills and the coverage ability to lock up bigger receivers and tight ends.
The Saints demand versatility from their defensive backs. If Fields can show that versatility and stand out on special teams, his playmaking ability could make him a training camp surprise.