Saints CB Delvin Breaux playing at Pro Bowl level
The Saints did a lot to makeover their defense in the offseason. They drafted LBs Stephone Anthony and Hau’oli Kikaha, added CB Brandon Browner, CB Kyle Wilson and DT Kevin Williams in free agency, and traded for LB Dannell Ellerbe. While all of those players have seen significant playing time with the defense, the most impressive new starter for the Saints has been CB Delvin Breaux, an un-drafted free agent the Saints added early in the offseason, who worked his way to the top of the cornerback depth chart.
Breaux has an inspiring comeback story after breaking part of his vertebrae in high school, then working his way up from semi-pro football, the arena league, the CFL, and now, to an NFL starter. The heights he’s climbed don’t end with just a starting job, however; he is playing like one of the best cornerbacks in the league this season.
On Thursday, he was responsible for covering our highest rated wide receiver on the year (Julio Jones) whenever Jones lined up on the outside. There were five times where Jones was targeted and Breaux was covering him. Jones was held to just two catches on those plays, while Breaux also had two passes defended. When Jones played in the slot, Breaux did not line up across from him—so Jones lined up in the slot more than usual. The Falcons’ star found more success when others were responsible for covering him.
This isn’t Breaux’s first big-time secondary performance this season. He has played in 99 percent of defensive snaps this season, and has yet to allow more than 60 receiving yards in a game. In over six games, he’s only allowed 45.2 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught, which is third-best in the league for those who have been thrown at 30 or more times. His 0.88 yards per coverage snap is sixth-best for cornerbacks with 180 or more coverage snaps, and his six passes defended are tied for second-most in the league.
This has all added up to a PFF coverage rating of 87.3, which is fifth-best in the league. His story is incredible, but it doesn’t stop at NFL starter. He is playing at a Pro Bowl level (according to our new 2015 Player Grades), and will help keep the Saints’ defense competitive.