Aug.1, 2012; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Saalim Hakim (13) makes a catch during training camp. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
When the New Orleans Saints let wide receiver Robert Meachem go in free agency, the team took a big gamble because he was the only down-field presence in the receiving corps that they had.
Fellow receiver Devery Henderson isn’t the impact player he used to be and Marques Colston isn’t known for his blazing wheels. The only person that the Saints had to take the place of Meachem was second year receiver Joe Morgan.
Morgan actually is playing more of a rookie role since he was on injured reserve for the entire season last year but is showing that he can get behind the secondary and has 9 receptions for 371 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 41.2 yards per reception.
The offseason for Morgan was a learning experience and his status was touch and go when he showed some inconsistency in catching the ball. However, this offseason should be better for Morgan as he develops an even better relationship with quarterback Drew Brees.
Now add in the surprising activation of practice squad player Saalim Hakim to the active roster and you wonder what the Saints are planning or what do they have up their sleeve?
Well, it could be more of what Hakim has in his legs than up the Saints sleeve. The wide receiver from Palomar College has seen time with the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives as well as the Dallas Cowboys and one gift he has has been on display.
The speed that Hakim possesses extends into his urban legend-like mythology. His 40 yard dash time has been reported as a 4.23(as seen in this video) as well as other times in the sub-4.4 area, averaging out at 4.31.
This could be another down-field threat that the Saints desperately need since one area this season the offense has struggled with has been getting seperation from the secondary and leading Brees to have to hold onto the ball longer than he has had to in the past.
Realistically, Hakim may not see much playing time if at all in the Saints offense for the final two games, but it’s a good pickup by the Saints. Testimony came from former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel who coaches the Locomotives.
Fassel was quoted as saying by DallasNews.com as saying,
"You don’t find guys like him walking around on the streets,” Fassel said. “He’s so strong — explosively strong. He’d jerk a guy, go around him, and once he got into a leverage position they couldn’t run with him. Once he gets going, he’s as fast as anyone I’ve ever seen on the football field.”"
If the Saints can work Hakim into the offense during the offseason, as well as get 2012 fourth-round pick Nick Toon healthy and acclimated, then the poor showing this season could hopefully be a distant memory.
With Henderson slated to be a free agent this upcoming year, Hakim could factor in to take his spot especially when the maniacal offensive guru mind of suspended head coach Sean Payton returns to New Orleans.