In some ways, it’s pretty amazing that Adrian Arrington still holds a roster spot on the New Orleans Saints. Despite being an afterthought in the receiver hiearchy and never getting much playing time, Arrington has managed to stick around. His odds of “making it” as a 7th round draft choice were slim to begin with, so there’s something to be said for the fact that he’s still hanging around and will enter his 5th training camp with the New Orleans Saints this summer. In 4 seasons with the Saints, Arrington has managed to get in just 5 games and he’s amassed 9 career catches. At some point his promising potential has to become a lot less attractive if he doesn’t turn a corner. He’s now 26 and Robert Meachem is gone, opening up a top 4 spot for someone to slide in behind Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. The time is now or never for Arrington to make his move if he wants to become a contributing player.
When Meachem left this summer for San Diego, the door was wide open for Arrington to move one spot on the depth chart and secure a top 4 receiver opportunity on the Saints. Since then the Saints have drafted Nick Toon, though, and they’ve also got high hopes on Rod Harper who is returning to health. This is nothing new for Arrington, though. He’s faced tough competition his entire career and managed to fight his way onto either the practice squad, injured reserve (joke) or the active roster and remain a Saint for four straight years. While Arrington has managed to stick around, he also hasn’t been able to outperform the guys ahead of him. Now he’s being handed the opportunity to win the 4th receiver spot. Arrington has had a history of nicks and bruises that have stunted his small window of opportunity, though, so that’s not something he can afford this offseason. He’ll also need to show he’s ready for an increased role. The frustrating thing about Arrington is that for every time he seems to make a move, he immediately follows it up with a step backwards. Whether it’s injury, poor performance, or whatever, Arrington hasn’t been able to find the level of consistency needed to get him on the field more often. The competition is there, as always, but the odds won’t ever be stacked more firmly in his favor that they are this year. Meachem is gone, Henderson is aging and on the last year of his contract, and only unpolished youngsters with little experience threaten his chances at increased reps.
It’s up to you #87, now or never. Treading water simply won’t do this year. He either makes the jump to a contributing receiver on a weekly basis, or he ends up as yet another fringe NFL player that lasted just a bit longer than most. This is the year.