4 Players for the New Orleans Saints Who Can Fill the Void Devery Henderson Left Behind
Top 4 Players That Can Compete for Wide Receiver Job Left by Devery Henderson
As the 2013 season nears, the New Orleans Saints will be without three players that were instrumental to their Super Bowl run in 2009. One of those three players is Devery Henderson.
Many people may not know Devery Henderson until you mention that guy wearing number 19 flying past defenses and becoming a deep threat that Drew Brees needed. In his career, Henderson totaled 245 receptions for 4,377 yards, averaging 17.9 yards per play. Now, at age 31, the Louisiana native seems to be out of work while the Saints move in another direction.
But the question is, which direction are they going in? There are many spots that are up for grabs, including who will be the third receiver behind Marques Colston and Lance Moore. The Saints have one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL, and with Sean Payton coming back, I expect the offense to be even sharper (since Payton was probably concocting new plays for his team as he watched from his home in Dallas).
So, the third wide receiver position is open and I believe that the Saints have four different options to choose from. Since Henderson got most of his receptions from the Saints' own 21-50 yard line, I expect Payton to look for a player who can run the deep route and is a precise route runner. On occasion, Payton is looking for somebody who is reliable when the Saints need a big, explosive play when they are behind. Here are four potential replacements in the third wide receiver role.
Courtney Roby has served as a kick returner and backup wide receiver since he arrived in New Orleans in 2008. Roby was the Saints' special teams captain last season and has been an integral part of that unit. He has caught two passes since being in New Orleans, but last season he totaled 43 tackles and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. He suffered a serious neck injury in 2010, but obviously the Saints like what Roby brings to the table. He has good football instincts and great football IQ which is why I believe he can legitimately compete for the third wide receiver position.
Joe Morgan emerged last season as one of Drew Brees’ favorite deep threat options. Morgan played in 14 games last season and had 10 receptions for 379 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 37.9 yards per play which demonstrates his ability to run the deep route. He will begin workouts behind Colston and Moore, but he is above Roby, Toon and others. Morgan already expects his role to increase with the Saints, but he needs to evolve to be a more precise route runner.
Nick Toon understands how to run strong routes and is strong enough to be involved as a blocker in the run game. While at Wisconsin, Toon was a red zone threat and has the potential to be a red zone threat at the pro level because of his size. He also has the hands to be a go-to receiver to help pick up first downs. He can’t stretch the field quite like Morgan can, and his lingering foot injury finally caught up with him when he was placed on injured reserve last season. Now, Toon is fully healed and has the potential to be the next Colston.
Kenny Stills is a good athlete and has the speed to get behind cornerbacks. He has good hands which was demonstrated when he was a junior at Oklahoma. His junior year, he caught 82 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is not as big as Toon and he is not overly physical, which can pose potential problems when facing the big and physical corners in the NFL. However, he has a knack for finding ways to get open, and I believe his off the field problems will cease once he is surrounded by the leaders in the Saints' locker room.
4 Wide Receivers Poised to Snag Wide Receiver Position
Payton and the Saints' offense have a knack for finding the right players to fit their system. The Saints' offense is known for its versatility, and Payton can have his team line up in 30 formations or personnel groupings before halftime. Payton also forces the opposing defense to play every personnel group they have, which eventually can show the weaknesses of the team. Payton needs players who can simply outplay and outwork their opponents, and these players bring something different to the table.