Stanley Jean-Baptiste faces pressure to produce early for Saints

The most popular position in the 2014 NFL Draft was cornerback and that's not all that surprising when you consider how pass-heavy the league has become.

While there were five players at the position taken in the first round -- including one in the top 10 -- NFL Media analyst Curtis Conway thinks it's a second-round selection that will have the biggest impact on the field during the upcoming season.

"I'm going with Stanley Jean-Baptiste," Conway said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft". "Look at where these guys are playing, in the NFC South. Tampa Bay with Vincent Jackson and, now, Mike Evans as 6-foot-5 wide receivers. Atlanta has Julio Jones as a 6-foot-3, 220 (pound) receiver. Carolina just got Kelvin Benjamin.

"(Jean-Baptiste) is the biggest corner in the draft and has a 41-inch vertical. He is a guy who is going to have an immediate impact on his team."

The Saints were targeting a corner early on in the draft and nabbed Jean-Baptiste with the 58th overall pick. He was Nebraska's top defensive back as a senior and was coveted by a number of teams as he went through the draft process due to his 6-foot-3 frame and impressive vertical jump. Thanks in part to the success of Seattle's "Legion of Boom" secondary, taller cornerbacks seem to be in vogue around the league and it appears Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is now a believer.

New Orleans already beefed up their secondary in the offseason with the free-agent additions of Jarius Byrd and Champ Bailey, but the presence of Jean-Baptiste does give the squad a more imposing presence to help take on those big wide receivers in the division.

"I love the pick of Stanley Jean-Baptiste," NFL Media analyst Charles Davis said. "I love the pick because it's a pick for the division."

As the Saints look to reclaim the division title and make another long playoff run, a lengthy corner such as Jean-Baptiste very well could make the difference on defense if he can get settled in quickly enough as a rookie.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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