Robert Meachem Looks To Ascend Saints Depth Chart At Wide Receiver After Two Disappointing Seasons
Saints 2007 first round pick Robert Meachem is making a strong case to be a part of the Saints starting trio of wide receivers this season after a disappointing start to his NFL career.
New Orleans selected Meachem with the 27th overall pick in 2007 draft after an impressive college career at Tennessee where he was known for his big play capability and elite speed.
Shortly there after things turned south for Meachem when it was reported he showed up to camp overweight and under prepared to handle the Saints complicated offense, this in addition to suffering a nagging “sore” knee injury kept the rookie on the sideline for his entire rookie campaign.
Obviously Meachem was immediately labeled a bust by press and fans alike. The Saints as an organization did not look fondly on his short comings, reducing the former first round pick to a scout team player.
Meachem though has bounced back in a big way with renewed determination and focus on becoming a top flight receiver for the Saints.
Making the 46 man roster in 2008, already an improvement from his rookie season, Meachem had 12 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns as he averaged 24.1 yards a reception — showcasing his forgotten big play ability.
Meachem still had work to do though as it was reported that coaches were not happy with his route running and the fact he occasionally missed his assignment, thus effectively minimizing his playing time in 08.
Now in 2009 Meachem looks worthy of his first round designation and he just may shed the label of being called a bust after an impressive camp and two nice showings in the Saints first two pre-season games.
Against the Bengals Meachem had three reception for 77 yards and one touchdown after he blasted down the field to haul in a 64 yard bomb thrown by backup QB mark Brunell.
In his next game against the Texans he had two receptions for 29 yards, although the stats do not do him justice.
Meachem’s catches were all tough grabs and he was tantalizingly close to catching his second touchdown pass of the pre-season when QB Joey Harrington threw a lob pass to the deep right corner of the end zone, Meachem jumped up over his defender and made the athletic grab but it was simply thrown too far back.
All in all in his limited action this pre-seasone he has made five catches for 106 yards and one touchdown averaging a healthy 21.2 yards per reception.
Now Meachem is taking more reps with the first team offense and looks to compete for the third receiver spot with Devery Henderson behind likely starters Marques Colston and Lance Moore.
Meachem himself is ready to prove to everyone that he is no bust.
"“I was just a guy that really didn’t understand what I was out here to do,” Meachem said. “You know you’re a first-round draft pick and you’re trying to make every play that you can. … You’re trying to figure out, ‘How can I run this route to get open?’ But then you run a route your way, and you’re kind of taking away from somebody else getting open. This year they’re going to get to see a first-round draft pick,” Meachem promised. “The last two years, that’s been somebody else.”"
The extra time practicing with Drew Bress is paying off dividends for the you receiver as the Pro-Bowl quarterback is more and more comfortable passing his direction.
"“He’s coming around,” Brees said. “I’m really happy for him. I think he has worked extremely hard and we just have to keep finding the right opportunities for him.”"
Don’t be surprised if Meachem turns in a solid performance during 2009 and don’t be surprised if he overtakes Devery Henderson on the depth chart either, all signs point up for Robert Meachem.
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