Whether it is in the NFL draft or in free agency, the New Orleans Saints love acquiring targets for their eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees. Well, Sean Payton and Co. did just that by selecting Kenny Stills as the No. 144 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The California native played his college football at the University of Oklahoma where he set school records as a freshman for receiving yards and receptions with 61 catches for 786 yards and five scores. As a sophomore, the Bob Stoops understudy caught another 61 passes, but this time he totaled 849 yards with eight touchdowns and was named to the Coaches’ Second-Team All-Big 12. During his junior year and final season, Stills led the Sooners in receptions (82), yards (959) and touchdowns (11) and was named Second-Team All-Big 12 once again after another a superb performance.
He was a hidden gem that New Orleans was able steal out of the fifth round of the draft. Size and dropped balls were the main issue, which is why he fell so far down the draft boards. However, he managed to excel as a rookie, totaling 32 receptions for 641 yards, five touchdowns and a league-leading 20 yards per catch.
With Lance Moore taking his talents to Western Pennsylvania to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Stills has earned his No. 2 spot on the Saints’ depth chart. His speed, athleticism and ability to separate from defenders may help him evolve into one of Brees’ favorite targets this season. He’s got the tools and mindset to be a long-term playmaker in the Crescent City. Rookie Brandin Cooks will be seeing a hefty chunk of action as well, which could eventually cut into Stills’ numbers, but his position is safe for now.
No. 84 will be looking for a sophomore step-up in hopes of taking his game to the next level in 2014. He looks to remain a productive member of that high-powered offense for the long haul. With training camp kicking off in West Virginia on July 25, it will be exciting to see how far along Stills has come with a full season of professional football under his belt. Look for him to have a big summer and continue his success as a deep threat in the NFL.