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VFL Alontae Taylor Tagged as New Orleans’ Key X-Factor in 2023

Alontae Taylor
Saints DB Alontae Taylor. Photo via Alontae Taylor (@taeetaylor) on Twitter.

New Orleans Saints defensive back Alontae Taylor emerged as one of the Saints’ best surprises during the 2022-2023 football season.

The rookie out of Tennessee played in 13 games for the Saints last season and ended up starting nine of those after an injury to Marshon Lattimore. Despite just entering the league, though, Taylor was a major bright spot on the Saints’ defense.

While looking at each team’s top x-factor heading into the upcoming season, The 33rd Team’s Andy Benoit listed VFL Alontae Taylor as the Saints selection.

“Taylor is listed at 6-foot, 195 pounds, and plays bigger than that,” Benoit wrote. “Yet, in Week 7, he had positive snaps matching up to shifty Cardinals receiver Rondale Moore. When Taylor faced receivers who were closer (or beyond) his own size, he thrived even more. He was competitive against Davante Adams in Week 8. He was downright dominant against Atlanta’s Drake London in Week 15. Taylor has shown he can make individual pass stops at all three levels downfield.”

Taylor’s potential and the promise that he showed as a rookie has many people around the Saints organization hopeful about the future.

More from RTI: Former Tennessee Star Trey Smith Snubbed from NFL Draft Steals List

In addition to Taylor, the Saints also have former Vol Alvin Kamara on the roster. Kamara was drafted by the Saints at No. 65 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, which landed him on ESPN’s Top 50 NFL Draft steals over the last decade this past week.

Kamara comes in as the No. 13 NFL Draft steal over the past 10 years according to ESPN’s Mike Miller and Jordan Reid.

“After bouncing around in college — Alabama to Hutchinson Community College to Tennessee — Kamara slipped to the third round where the Saints made him part of one of the NFL’s greatest draft classes ever,” Miller wrote for ESPN. “Kamara quickly made his mark, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, earning a Pro Bowl invite and receiving second-team All-Pro honors.”

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