The New Orleans Saints have been putrid on defense to say the least in recent memory, thus cornerback being their primary need come draft night. Who many are calling one of the draft’s deep sleepers is Treston Decoud of Oregon State, a modern day lockdown corner with rare size and length. Decoud’s nose for the ball and reading of a quarterback’s eyes speak for his success as an upperclassmen, putting forth numbers nothing short of sensational.
As a junior, Decoud posted 50 total tackles, 31 solo, 3.5 for loss, five passes defensed, and a sack, making his name known to Beaver nation. In Eugene against the arch-rival Oregon Ducks, Decoud put his breakout performance on full display, with nine total tackles, seven solo, and a pass defensed. Although a 52-42 loss, the 2015 Civil War set the stage for Decoud’s 2016 senior campaign, ultimately turning the heads of NFL scouts and general managers.
2016 may have been an overall down year for the Beavers, but Decoud shined bright, as he recorded 58 total tackles, 46 solo, two for loss, ten passes defensed, along with two interceptions. In three of the four Oregon State victories, including a Civil War upset in Corvallis, Decoud proved he was ready to take his talents to the next level. Of the three, Decoud put forth his best outing against Idaho State, posting four total tackles, two passes defensed, and two interceptions.
Perhaps the most overlooked of his talents is Decoud’s leadership, in that a formidable defense starts with its focal point being an emotional leader. The Saints are devoid of a true face on the defensive side of the ball, as Decoud could make an immediate impact in that respect. New Orleans rounded out the 2016 season ranked 27th in total defense, 32nd against the pass, allowing a league worst 273.8 yards per game. Decoud’s wide skillset and leadership will only add to a secondary currently at rock bottom, with no way to look but up.
As it pertains to his all-around game, Decoud does lack speed, a necessity and further essential element in today’s NFL. That said, Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is the perfect mentor for Decoud. Allen’s experience in working with young corners coupled with Decoud’s strong work ethic will only better his play in the long run. In all likelihood, Decoud will start, due to the fact that the league’s worst secondary could use all the help in the world.
Overall, Treston Decoud is a promising prospect with a strong upside, and a sure steal for any team in this year’s draft. Passion and a nonstop motor dictate his every game routine, resulting in his being one of if not the primary face of Oregon State’s defense. Look for Decoud to be drafted in the later rounds, ultimately making the most of his NFL career. His positive mindset and leadership qualities in New Orleans would instantly better the secondary, as Decoud would make winning his top priority.