Key Stat Proves Marshon Lattimore Is Already an Elite Cornerback

This key stat proves Mashon Lattimore is an elite cornerback.
This key stat proves Mashon Lattimore is an elite cornerback. | Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With the NFL becoming more and more pass heavy, having an elite, lockdown cornerback on the outside is arguably more important than ever. And in just three seasons, New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore has already proven he belongs in that elite category.

Since he entered the league in 2017, Lattimore has graded out as the league's second-best cornerback in man coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. Notably, he only trails Stephon Gilmore, who just won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019.

While, yes, this is an incredible accomplishment on the surface, taking a deeper look makes Lattimore stand out even further. The Saints play in the NFC South, where Lattimore has been forced to go up against two of the NFL's most dominant wide receivers, Julio Jones and Mike Evans, twice per season.

The Saints are also a strong team that often plays with a lead. This means New Orleans is frequently put into pass defense situations, which makes Lattimore's efficiency all the more impressive.

Last season, the 24-year-old allowed a 50.0 percent completion rate when targeted, limiting opposing signal-callers to a 79.4 passer rating across 88 total targets. For reference, that would've been the third-worst passer rating in the NFL among qualified QBs.

The NFC South only gets better this season, with Tom Brady and Teddy Bridgewater taking control of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers, respectively. Lattimore will be tested yet again, but if he continues his current play, those quarterbacks may be forced to look elsewhere.

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