Last week against the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills showcased his skills and abilities late in the fourth quarter. Trailing 23-17 with around 3:30 left to play in regulation on third-and-20, Drew Brees threw up a long ball to the right side of the end zone, and Stills was able to jump up and come down with it in double coverage. This should have been a enough to seal a victory for New Orleans, but alas, it was not.
Several of the Saints blogs that I regularly visit and follow provided nice GIF files and still pictures of that play, and it was easy to see why he is primed for success. First of all, the rookie is fast. His reported 40-yard dash time comes in at around 4.32 seconds. Secondly, Stills has a great ability to create separation from defenders with his speed and technique. We got to see this early on in the preseason, and slowly we are starting to see it in the regular season. Lastly, as Matt Waldman at the Rookie Scouting Portfolio pointed out Stills showed veteran vision and technique when he placed himself, his hands and his body in the right positions to not only make that touchdown catch, but to protect himself and the ball and to be able to break up a possible interception.
Hopefully we will begin to see more of Stills in New Orleans’ offensive rotation. If opposing defenses actively work to neutralize their other potent weapons, like Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Marques Colston, others will need to step up and produce. Plus, it never hurts to diversify and keep opponents guessing.