New Orleans Saints positional previews: Wide Receivers
Michael Thomas, Ohio State
The hype continues to build for Michael Thomas, who the Saints used their second-round pick on in the draft. He’s certainly fitting in with the plans, and Drew Brees made it a point to talk about his good work ethic in June. I’ve previously highlighted Thomas in my draft grading, and he should be a coveted weapon for the team’s offense. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound rookie is an exceptional route-runner, and makes defenders look downright silly in the process. The Saints could use him in many ways, but he’ll be big in the short game running slants. He is instantly among the Top 3 receivers for the team with Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks.
The only criticism I have for Thomas is that he does need some work on run blocking, but should pair well with wide receivers coach John Morton. Oh by the way, noted draft analyst Matt Miller compared him to Dez Bryant (the good traits). Could you imagine if that happens for this offense?
Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
Jared Dangerfield is very intriguing, and is an ideal mold of what Sean Payton looks for in a receiver. Dangerfield has a combination of size (6-foot-1, 211 pounds), physicality as a run blocker, and the ability to get separation from press man coverage. He shined at the East-West Shrine Game, and is your classic example of a small school find. He just gets no respect, but that could quickly change. I firmly believe that he and R.J. Harris could push Coleman down the charts.
Jake Lampman, Ferris State
If you like long shots, then Jake Lampman is one of the guys to root for. Had he attended the NFL Combine, Lampman would have tied the NFL record for most bench press reps with the 27. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound East Lansing, Michigan native turned in a 4.47 second 40-yard dash at Michigan Pro Day. He also had a 39-inch vertical and 10-foot-2 broad jump. The Ferris State receiver has good ball skills, and he developed a reputation for playing with a linebacker’s mentality who isn’t shy about trying to gain the tough yards after the catch.
Tommylee Lewis, Northern Illinois
When you think about what Tommylee Lewis could bring to the Saints, think about special teams. Lewis won’t win much in the height and weight department, standing at a mere 5-foot-7, 168 pounds. However, the proof is in what Lewis can do when he has the ball. He can cut and change direction with ease, and is most dangerous when he gets into open space. Lewis is comparative to Darren Sproles, and that’s saying a lot. He’ll have to win his way onto the roster with special teams, but can add something to the offense if needed.
Jordan Williams-Lambert, Ball State
You’re not imagining things when you see Ball State paired with the Saints, as Jordan Williams-Lambert was a teammate of Willie Snead’s during college. Williams-Lambert was the Cardinals unquestioned leader in catches (72), yards (920), and touchdowns (8) as a senior. Adjusting to the NFL is key for Williams-Lambert, much like the rest of his fellow rookie entrants, but having a familiar presence who has ‘been there and done that’ in Snead could help his progression. A good reach, size (6-foot-3, 228 pounds), and ball location will help.