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NFL.com says Paulson Adebo is the Saints’ most underappreciated player

It’s been a good spring for Paulson Adebo. The New Orleans Saints cornerback has received a lot of hype from a variety of outlets covering the NFL, which have described the corner as an underrated player, one of the league’s most-improved defenders, a secret superstar for New Orleans, and the Saints’ best-kept secret.

The latest praise for Adebo comes from NFL.com’s Tom Blair, who cited some numbers from NFL Next Gen Stats to build Adebo’s case as one of the league’s most underappreciated players:

One highlight of the Saints’ forgettable 2023 season was the pass defense — and one player who shined individually within that unit was Adebo, a second-year pro who tied for the team lead in picks (four). He also ranked third in the NFL in passes defensed (18) and posted the 10th-best passer rating allowed (58.5), according to NGS (min. 400 coverage snaps). Whether or not Derek Carr and the offense can fully cohere after an up-and-down 2023 is still uncertain, but Adebo is one of a handful of young standouts (along with Carl GrandersonBryan Bresee and Alontae Taylor) who can help keep New Orleans competitive on D while Carr and Co. try to take a step forward.

Adebo was a third-round pick in the 2021 draft, so he’s a third-year pro, which means he’ll be a free agent in 2025 if the Saints don’t extend his contract. His star is rising at the perfect time to cash in next offseason. He leads the Saints in passes defensed (33) since he joined the team in 2021, which is tied with L’Jarius Sneed for 17th-most in the entire NFL.

Will the Saints let him leave? It’s possible. Their outlook at cornerback is tough to suss out. Marshon Lattimore could be traded this summer or next spring, and they have a couple of young draft picks competing for snaps in Alontae Taylor and Kool-Aid McKinstry. It’s very possible that Adebo’s asking price in 2025 is too high for them to match, so they opt to let him walk and  promote Taylor or McKinstry to a starting role opposite Lattimore. We also can’t rule out the possibility of Lattimore moving on, too. Both starting corners might be on new teams this time next year.

Still, the Saints have to be appreciating Adebo while they have him. He bounced back from a down year in 2022 while playing through injury to lock down opposing wideouts in 2023. Coverage penalties were a problem for him early in his career but he played clean football last season after knocking off some rust in the opening weeks. Whatever his future is after 2024, he’s going to be a critical piece of Dennis Allen’s defense in the fall.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire