Saints 2021 Draft Pick Profile: Paulson Adebo

A closer look at New Orleans 3rd round draft choice Paulson Adebo, a ball-hawking cornerback out of Stanford.
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The New Orleans Saints traded two 3rd round picks, numbers 98 and 105 overall, to the Denver Broncos in order to move up in the 3rd round on Friday night. With the 76th overall choice, the Saints selected Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo.

After bypassing several corners in the first two rounds of the draft, New Orleans nabbed a player expected to compete for the starting opposite Pro Bowl CB Marshon Lattimore. Here is a closer look at one of the newest New Orleans Saints.

PAULSON ADEBO, CORNERBACK (STANFORD)

Paulson Adebo, Saints Cornerback

Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11) warms-up on the field before the game against the Washington Huskies. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY 

  • 6’1” and 198 lbs.
  • Pro Day 40 = 4.42 sec

A four-star recruit as a wide receiver out of Mansfield High School in Texas, Mansfield had originally committed to Notre Dame. He switched to Stanford late in the process, who then moved him to defensive back. After taking a redshirt his first year, he quickly earned a starting job in 2018.

Paulson made a big impact for the Cardinals in 2018. He recorded 64 tackles, including 5 for loss, along with recovering a fumble. He also intercepted 4 passes and broke up 17 others, good for second in the PAC-12 and earning him 1st team all-conference honors.

Adebo would miss three games in 2019 with injury, but still led the conference with 4 interceptions. He added 33 tackles and broke up 10 passes, again earning 1st team ALL-PAC 12 recognition. After opting out of the 2020 season, Adebo finished his Stanford career with 8 interceptions and 27 passes broken up in just 22 games played.

Washington Huskies running back Myles Gaskin (9) runs at Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11). Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Huskies running back Myles Gaskin (9) runs at Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11). Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Inexperienced compared to some of the other corners in his draft class, Adebo appeared in 22 contests over two years after converting from wideout. That inexperience can show most with his back to the ball deep down the field or in positioning.

Adebo has tight hips and an upright style, leading to a slowed change of direction. He’s shown vulnerability to double moves, causing him to give up more big plays in 2019. He’ll need to play with more physicality in press coverage, especially against smaller receivers, to take better advantage of his attributes.

Adebo's combination of size and straight-line speed will allow him to match up with any NFL wideout. As a former receiver, he has great hands and shows outstanding ball-tracking skills, and attacks the throw like a wideout. His long arms, height and leaping ability give him an advantage in close quarters and on contested throws.

Most comfortable in press coverage, Adebo has the upper body movement to get a jam on even shifty receivers at the line. His experience as a wideout helps him better recognize routes when off the ball. He has an explosive closing burst on a play and will deliver a pop after the catch.

Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11) strips the ball from USC receiver Tyler Vaughns (21). Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY 

Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11) strips the ball from USC receiver Tyler Vaughns (21). Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY 

Paulson Adebo was a little inconsistent in 2019 after an outstanding first season at Stanford. He has the versatility to thrive as a press corner or in a Cover 3 scheme. His inexperience at the position will lead to some inconsistencies as a rookie. However, his ball-hawking skills, length, and closing speed gives him a high upside and should make him an immediate contributor to the New Orleans defense.