Let’s face it, the New Orleans Saints have a pretty intriguing roster heading into the new season. Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis have managed to stack their team with some compelling, young talent on both sides of the ball — the most recent addition being rookie WR Brandin Cooks.
Cooks, sophomore Kenny Stills and the returning Joe Morgan (missed 2013 with a knee injury) are all set to see a significant chunk of playing time this upcoming season. Between the three wideouts, whose 40-yard dash times combine for under 4.4, the Black and Gold could be well on their way to another record-breaking season with Drew Brees as their distributor. Let’s not forget about Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and the incredible screen game out of the backfield either. However, speed is the focus today.
Stills, who we all came to know after an impressive rookie campaign, will be returning for his second year with Saints following an NFL-leading 20 yards per catch average last season. The former Oklahoma Sooner became one of Brees’ favorite deep-threat options, totaling 641 yards and five touchdowns on only 32 grabs. His speed and ability to separate from coverage should be troubling for opposing defenders, with a full season now in the record books. Barring any setbacks, a more mature and experienced Kenny Stills could be on the rise in 2014.
Joe Morgan is looking to bounce back from a torn meniscus and partial ACL tear he suffered during a preseason practice last summer. Morgan has been with the team since signing on as an undrafted free agent in 2011. However, the injury-plagued wideout has been limited during his time in the Crescent City. He will be looking to re-establish himself as a deep threat like he was in 2012 when he averaged 37.9 yards per catch. He’s no superstar, but he can do some serious damage.
The Saints made a surprising move up the board to secure Brandin Cooks as the No. 20 overall selection in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner (nation’s most outstanding receiver) was a Consensus All-American and a First-Team All-Pac 12 selection at Oregon State as well. As the fastest receiver and one of the most athletic talents in his draft class, Cooks has tremendous upside as a star at the next level. Drew Brees’ new toy is probably the most versatile player the Big Easy has seen since Reggie Bush. His Pro Bowl potential as a quadruple threat (outside, slot, returner and backfield) could kick in the moment he sets foot on the field.
The 2011 season was something special for the organization. In fact, nine records were set by the franchise that year. From most yards gained in a single season to most first downs in a single season, to Drew Brees breaking Dan Marino‘s single-season passing yards record, the Black and Gold were dominating left and right. Now, with the arsenal of weapons they are looking at this year, Sean Payton and company could be at it again in 2014. I said it before ESPN’s Adam Schefter did, but the New Orleans Saints may be looking at the best roster they’ve ever seen.