When the New Orleans Saints drafted Kenny Stills with the 144th overall pick in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, many were wondering what he would be able to do for the Saints given that he would be joining a group which is loaded and considered one of the best in the league.
After a shaky first preseason game, Stills has caught the eye of teammates, coaches and fans with his displays in the final three preseason games.
Entering the start of the regular season, it is clear that Kenny Stills is the undisputed no. 3 wide receiver on the Saints’ depth chart. While Stills may be a part of an offense which does not heavily rely on its wide receivers in terms of targets for passes, the fact that he is the no. 3 option is very significant.
For starters, it shows that the Saints clearly recognize that they have potential star on their roster. After all, the way Stills played in the preseason led the Saints to release a veteran in Steve Breaston while leaving the future of a player like Nick Toon in doubt.
While Stills will have to share targets with the likes of Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles, he brings something different to the table which the Saints did not have last season, and that is a downfield speed target.
Of the seven catches Stills had in the preseason, three of those were completions that went for 20 yards or more, with one of them being a 40-yard completion. The ability of Stills to take the top off the defense makes him unique and stand out above the other wide receivers on the Saints roster.
Even after a bad start to the preseason, it was clear that Stills had impressed as coach Sean Payton commented on how he liked what he saw from Stills despite the mistakes he made.
That confidence was clearly not coach speak or misplaced. While Stills may not yet be a household name, it is clear that the Saints found themselves a player who is capable of breaking out and potentially ending the season as their top wide receiver in terms of production.