New Orleans Saints 2013 Wide Receiver Preview
Who Will Round Out the Wide Receiver Depth Chart For 2013?
With training camp in session already, preseason less than two weeks away and the home opener against the Atlanta Falcons slated for September 8, the New Orleans Saints are just like other 31 NFL teams out there; they must figure out the personnel they have and the best way to use them.
Sean Payton had a whole year off to watch and observe not only his Saints but the league in general. Despite a glaring need at the left tackle position following Jermon Bushrod’s departure, I expect Payton to come back fresh and energized with new ways to move the ball and score touchdowns. He did have a year off, after all.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan also has his work ahead of him. Last year the Saints had a historically bad season defensively. The 7,042 yards allowed were the worst ever and a major contributing factor to the New Orleans’ less than stellar season.
Despite the question marks surrounding the Saints' defensive unit and the need for a solid and dependable left tackle, the Saints will enter the 2013 season with many of the same offensive weapons. The running game will likely consist of Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram in a variety of schemes, matchups and looks. The tight end position looks fairly solid as well; rising star Jimmy Graham will be looking to make 100 or more catches for 1,000+ yards and newly acquired Ben Watson should be able to make his presence known in the blocking game.
About the only question on the offense, besides the left tackle position, is who will step up and grab the number three and four spot on the Saints wide receiver depth chart. Marques Colston and Lance Moore are almost guaranteed to grab the first two positions, but who will be asked to play alongside them?
Here is a quick breakdown of New Orleans’ wide receivers that I believe are likely to retain spots on the wide receiver depth chart and/or see playing time during the regular season.
Saalim Hakim Brings Lots of Speed
Hakim, the younger brother of former wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim, brings a lot of speed to the plate, but has next to no experience playing football at any level. Still, Sean Payton might be able to find something for him to do in 2013
Courtney Roby Brings Experience and Leadership
Roby has played extensively on the Saints special teams unit and has been around for awhile. Although he doesn’t have great hands or any kind of spectacular route running ability, he can offer experience and wisdom to younger players and run blocking capability to the offense.
Rookie Kenny Stills Also Has Speed
The rookie from Oklahoma brings impressive speed to the Saints. Although essentially raw and in need of more experience, his speed could really help to stretch the field like when Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson were with the team.
Nick Toon Reminds Some of Marques Colston
Toon is similar in body size and speed to Marques Colston, one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets. It’s likely that he and Joe Morgan will see the most action outside of Lance Moore and Colston.
Joe Morgan Not a Sure Thing Anymore
Morgan was on the fast track to becoming the team’s number three receiver until a DWI arrest this past Memorial Day. Morgan caught 10 passes for 397 yards last season and showed hints of playmaking ability.
Lance Moore Looking For More After First 1,000 Yard Season
Moore logged his first 1,000 yard season last year and has become a favorite target for Brees. And for good reason. Who can ever forget his two-point conversion in Super Bowl XLIV?
Marques Colston One of Brees' Favorite Weapons
Eight year veteran Colston had 83 receptions for 1,154 yards last season, marking the sixth time he has registered 1,000 or more yards in a season. Look for Brees to target Colston often.