Nnamdi Asomugha Must Be Top Target for New Orleans Saints

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIMarch 14, 2013

December 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA;  Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (24) gets ready to defend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints are interested in free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, per a report via NBC's Pro Football Talk.

 According to Mike Garafolo of USA TODAY Sports, Asomugha is meeting with the San Francisco 49ers.

Simply put, the Saints must act now and make the four-time Pro Bowler their top priority.

Asomugha was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on March 12 due to his unwillingness to restructure his contract. In the days following, Asomugha has become one of the hottest names on the open market.

The Saints are one of the teams rumored to be interested.

That last point is one worth holding onto.

Asomugha's reputation around the league has taken a hit in recent seasons, as he's underwhelmed with the Eagles. With that being said, the Eagles were a team in disarray and provided Asomugha with nothing short of inconsistency on defense.

That's why the defensive coordinator job is such an important factor.


Reuniting with Rob Ryan

From 2004 to 2008, Rob Ryan was the defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders. While playing under Ryan, Nnamdi Asomugha made an All-Pro appearance and began to come into his own as one of the most dominant cornerbacks in the league.

Upon Ryan's departure, Asomugha entered his prime and was voted by his peers as one of the Top 100 Players in the NFL. The first of two times which that transpired saw Asomugha ranked 18th in the league, via NFL.com.

If anyone can help him return to that status, it's Ryan.

We can talk football schematics, but the truth of the matter is, Asomugha needs familiarity. The Eagles had two defensive coordinators during his two seasons in town, including one that was originally an offensive line coach.

Considering Asomugha got his start under Ryan, playing for him again would be beneficial for both parties.

If you don't believe that, watch the video supplied in the link above. Asomugha held opposing receivers to 13 receptions and zero touchdowns in 2010.

Should he end up in New Orleans, we will see the elite corner return.


Putrid Pass Defense

In 2012, the New Orleans Saints ranked 31st in the NFL in terms of passing yards allowed. They ranked 29th in passing touchdowns let up and 28th in opponent passer rating.

Perhaps worst of all, the Saints ranked dead last in first downs via pass plays at 236 allowed, while setting an NFL record with over 6,000 yards of total offense allowed.

This isn't to say that Nnamdi Asomugha would elevate the Saints to the status of elite. What it does speak to, however, is the fact that Asomugha was one of the league's supreme corners prior to arriving in Philadelphia.

For what it's worth, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel both experienced their worst years while with the franchise.

As for who Asomugha truly is, check the accolades; he's a three-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro selection.

A major reason why is his uncanny ability to lock off an entire section of the field and force quarterbacks to become predictable in their reads.

This is the type of presence that New Orleans has lacked in recent seasons. As a result, quarterbacks have been picking their shaky secondary apart.

The Saints' heavy reliance upon Drew Brees has become a risky and detrimental strategy.

With Asomugha on the defensive side of the ball, however, the Saints would have a building block for another Super Bowl run. Asomugha is a world-class corner and makes plays on the ball when it's thrown his way.

As long as the wins pile up, the effort will be there. In turn, the Saints will improve upon their most glaring and long-lasting weakness.

This may be a risky move, but it's as high of a reward as they'll find.