Going into the draft the receiver position was a major need on the roster. At points last year the Saints really felt weak at that position. While Marques Colston is still a good player he’s starting to age, and the quick paced regression of Lance Moore caught many of us by surprise. Despite the down year by the group there was some silver lining in the emergence of then rookie Kenny Stills. With the loss of Moore, though, depth was a serious question mark. Though after the re-signings of Robert Meachem and Joe Morgan, coupled with the addition of new talent over the weekend, the competition at the position is starting to feel really heated and healthy. We may be in for a very pleasant surprise at receiver this year with the Saints.
It’s easy to view Colston, Stills and 1st round rookie Brandin Cooks as locks to be on the roster in 2014. The addition of Cooks in particular is significant. As stated earlier the Saints are a pass heavy offense that has thrived the most with two field stretchers on the field (that being Devery Henderson and Meachem together in their prime). The emergence of Stills and the drafting of Cooks sure feel like the changing of the guard and those two players are primed to make a major important which will complement Colston nicely. Beyond that is anyone’s guess, but there are a number of promising players competing over two or three spots. Odds are the Saints will keep five or six receivers on the 53 man roster, and which between the two will depend on health at other positions and special teams. So who are the guys battling for those spots?
There’s of course a number of camp bodies on the roster, but Meachem, Nick Toon and Morgan seem to be the players most primed to vie for those 2-3 spots. That alone would have been slightly unsettling, but those guys are at least pushed down a spot on the roster thanks to the Cooks addition. The most underrated addition of the draft period may be Brandon Coleman, a 6’6″ undrafted rookie free agent out of Rutgers. Although, as excited as Saints fans are about him maybe it’s not that underrated. He’s already been likened as the heir apparent to Colston. No one is really sure why he went undrafted. He’s a high character player that was a team captain, performed well in college, and his potential is high. He has had knee and health issues during his college career, so perhaps he was red flagged. Still, Toon should view Coleman as a very serious threat to his roster chances. Many of us have already written Toon off and there’s no question this is his last chance to make a step towards earning playing time with the Saints. If he can’t turn the corner now, the Saints will likely part ways with him.
In my experience, though, the undrafted rookies we expect to make a splash never do, and it’s a couple no names (like Tim Lelito, Joshua Hill and Khiry Robinson last year) who surprise. So while many of you are ready to anoint Coleman as a 80 catch season guy in 2017, let’s just enjoy for now the fact that he’s added competition at a position that 5 days ago looked much thinner. Let’s not forget Andy Tanner, either, who always finds a way to hang around and make the more talented players on the team earn their spots ahead of him.
Morgan remains the big enigma. Can he rebound from his ACL tear after a breakout year in 2011? Or is he finished? I feel like Morgan and Meachem’s fate with the Saints is interconnected. Because both are field stretchers with some blocking ability, only one will make the team. Morgan has the advantage of youth, speed (assuming he’s anything close to his pre injury tread) and special teams ability, while Meachem has relative health, blocking and experience on his side.
Either way, the good news is receiver feels strong and whoever emerges as the roster spot players will have beaten out quality competition to get there. How many receivers do you see the Saints keeping (5 or 6?) and which players do you think it will be?