The Saints have had a history of moving around in the second round of the draft.
Not this time.
Standing pat at No. 58 Friday, the team went for cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste of Nebraska.
“We discussed moving up a couple of times in the round,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said. “We sensed today that a lot of teams had targeted a player overnight, which is why we saw a lot of activity in the second round.
“But in the end, the way things were unfolding, we felt it was in our best interests to stay. We also had an exit strategy to move down just in case a team or two ahead of us has taken Stan.”
Despite his Cajun-sounding name, Jean-Baptiste (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) is a native of Miami whose parents immigrated from Haiti.
Although he fell to the latter part of the second-round, Jean-Baptiste was projected into the latter part of the of the first round in several late mock drafts. The high projections were due to his size, which had network analysts drawing comparisons with Seattle’s Richard Sherman.
However, some critics say Jean-Baptiste is not as physical as his size would indicate.
Still, he should be able to compete with Patrick Robinson for the starting spot across from newly-acquired veteran Jarius Byrd.
“Coming in, corner was a position we wanted to address, and the good ones go pretty quickly.” Peyton said. “And when you start looking at the receivers in our division we line up against, particularly since so many have size and length, it’s really necessary to get players who can handle the position.
“We think Stan can play press-man and his ball skills are something we put a value on.”
Peyton added that Jean-Baptiste was the highest rated prospect at any position on the Saints’ board when it came time for them to select.
Jean-Baptiste had a winding journey to get to the second round. He started out as a wide receiver due to not being academically eligible at Miami Central High School spend a year at North Carolina Tech Prep after finishing and then redshirted the 2009 season at Fort Scott Community College before finally arriving at Nebraska.
Jean-Baptiste did not see any action in 2010, and had one reception the following season before making the transition to cornerback before the start of Big Ten play. Jean-Baptiste played in nine games, including his first career start, in 2011.
Finally established at cornerback, Jean-Baptiste started five of 14 games he saw action in as a junior. The Cornhuskers led the nation in opponent completion percentage, and Jean-Baptiste led the team with nine pass breakups.
Jean-Baptiste was voted to the second-team All-Big Ten squad by the league's coaches in 3013.
Jean-Baptiste played in all 12 games, again leading the team with 11 pass breakups. He also tied for the team lead with four interceptions, which he returned for a combined 134 yards. He also graduated a year ago with a degree in criminal justice.
As a fifth-year senior, Jean-Baptiste said he felt his maturity will be a positive.
“It helps me understand the game more, especially since I haven’t been a DB that long,” he said. “And my time at receiver helps me with ball skills, read the formations and break down tendencies.”
This is the Saints’ first second-round pick since 2010 they took Charles Brown.
The 2011 pick went to New England in the trade to move up to acquire Mark Ingram and the 2012 and 2013 picks were forfeited in the bounty gate scandal.
The Saints’ pick came after Denver traded up to the No. 56 spot to get wide receiver Cody Latimer of Indiana and San Francisco, which had dealt that spot to the Broncos, made a deal with San Diego to move back ahead of the Saints at No. 57 went for running back Carlos Hyde of Ohio State.
The Saints have no third round pick, meaning unless they make a late deal they will not pick again on Friday night.
Former Saints kicker Morten Andersen announced the pick.