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New Orleans CB Delvin Breaux playing big for Saints

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The Delvin Breaux phenomenon is captivating New Orleans.

The cornerback's journey from local blue-chip talent, to suffering a devastating neck injury, to standout CFL player, to stud Saints cover man makes an exceptional story.

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The local outlets are eating it up. Almost daily there is another glowing story about the 25-year-old coming out of the Bayou. My favorite headline comes from Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune:

Delvin Breaux signing could be best deal since Louisiana Purchase

THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE!!!!

It's not just that Breaux's redemption story is fantastic, it's that his play in his first NFL season has matched it.

After two difficult outings to open the year, Breaux has performed lights out, highlighted by his job helping shut down Julio Jones on national television on Thursday Night Football in Week 6.

Watching his film on NFL Game Pass, Breaux displays great recovery speed, excellent ball skills, good route recognition and a willingness to stick his nose in on running plays.

Here are two highlight clips:

"Teams always look at film and see weaknesses of this player or that player," Breaux told the Times-Picayune's Larry Holder. "I don't think I should get any special attention. I'm still working on my game. There are some things that I have to clean up myself.

"I guess they can game plan for me. I don't know," he said with a laugh.

At six-foot-1, 196 pounds with a 4.4 40-yard dash speed, Breaux is the full package. His performance against Jones especially pops off the tape. While Breaux often had help in coverage against Atlanta, his ability to track Jones and break on routes when the ball was in the air is ideal for a 21st Century corner.

Breaux can bring physicality at the line of scrimmage and also displays the athleticism to flip his hips and run with speedier wideouts.

Opponents have noticed.

"(Breaux) has got swagger," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said ahead of Sunday's Indy-New Orelans matchup. "He plays with an attitude. He is long, (and) he is physical. He gets his hands on you and gets up in your face. He plays press-man coverage and shadows receivers. There is no backing down from that guy. He is a really good football player. He's going to pose a huge challenge to our wide receiver corps, however they decide to play him."

Breaux hasn't been perfect -- he's had seven accepted penalties this season -- but his improvement each week has been remarkable. Pro Football Focus grades Breaux as their tenth-best corner overall this season, including two negative grades to open the year. Since Week 3, Breaux is PFFs top-rated corner with a 9.9 grade (Tyrann Mathieu: 9.5, Josh Norman: 8.1).

The Saints defense desperately needed a turnaround after a dismal 2014 and a slow start to 2015. With young pieces up front in rookies Stephone Anthony and Hau'oli Kikaha joining Breaux, New Orleans has a solid foundation for the next several years.

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