May 9, 2014 9:35 PM by AP
METAIRIE, La. (AP) - The Saints selected Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the second-round of the NFL draft on Friday night, providing New Orleans with a relatively tall defensive back whose ability to make plays on the ball impressed coach Sean Payton.
"When we start looking at our division and start looking at the receivers we line up against, that size and length, I think, really is necessary," Payton said, adding that he liked the fact Jean-Baptiste initially played receiver in college. "His ball skills are something we also put a value on."
Selected 58th overall, Jean-Baptiste joins a defense that ranked fourth in the NFL last season, and he'll be able to learn from a highly accomplished cornerback in Champ Bailey, whom the Saints acquired in free-agency this offseason.
"Hopefully he'll take me in with open arms and he can teach me what he knows," Jean-Baptiste said.
The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Jean-Baptiste was among top performers in both the vertical jump and broad jump at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. His vertical jump of 41.5 inches ranked first among cornerbacks, while his broad jump of 10 feet, 8 inches, tied for third.
His 4.61 time in the 40-yard dash was not among the best at his position, but Payton said the Saints were confident his combination of speed and size would be a good fit for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's unit.
"With the amount of bump-and-run coverage we want to play, I think the longer corner helps in that regard," Payton said.
Jean-Baptiste was named second-team All-Big Ten as a fifth-year senior last season, when he tied for a team-high four interceptions, one of which he returned one for a touchdown. He also was credited with 12 pass breakups and 41 total tackles, including four tackles for losses.
"Being a fifth-year senior helped me mature more, helped me understand the game more, especially in my position, playing DB for two-and-a-half-years," Jean-Baptiste said.
New Orleans entered Friday without a pick in the third round, having traded it to Arizona during Thursday night's first round that allowed the Saints to take Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks 20th overall.
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