The New Orleans Saints pre-training camp two-deep depth chart
Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas
Willie Snead, Brandon Coleman
The wide receiver group is one of the league’s most inexperienced units, but that doesn’t mean they are short on talent. Brandin Cooks, who enters his 3rd season, headlines the starting tenure for Drew Brees to work with. Cooks proved that he was a legitimate No. 1 receiving option last season after hauling in 84 catches for 1,138 yards and 9 touchdowns. Something to remember with Cooks is that he will turn just 23 in September.
Willie Snead was arguably the biggest sensation of training camp last year, and the Ball State product looks to only build off the momentum in 2016. Snead was targeted 101 times last season, and played in just over 67 percent of the team’s snaps. He could be in for a huge season by teams having to account for the various weapons the Saints offense will throw at them.
Rookie Michael Thomas found the perfect pairing in the NFL draft, as the Saints used their 47th overall selection in the 2nd Round to draft him. Thomas has a range of tools, which is highlighted by polished route-running and work ethic. He’s drawn strong comparisons to Dallas’ Dez Bryant, and has already received the praise of his quarterback.
For Brandon Coleman, the heat is on. Many of the younger wide receivers, especially the undrafted rookies, will challenge the second-year wide out for a roster spot. Coleman, who put in over 50 percent of last year’s production late in the season through just four games, will get the benefit of the doubt to start training camp.
Coby Fleener, Josh Hill
Make no mistake about it, but Coby Fleener was brought in to be the New Orleans Saints’ No. 1 tight end option. Although Fleener hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season yet, that could quickly change with Drew Brees at the helm. We even went as far as doing a film study on Fleener to show how he’ll win in New Orleans. Needless to say, this is a perfect offense for him to be in.
It was hard for me not to list Michael Hoomanawanui as the No. 2 option on the depth chart, as he fits a dual role of H-back and tight end. However, it all came down to the snap counts from last year. Josh Hill was in on 428 snaps, or 36 percent of the offensive plays last year as opposed to Hooman’s 343 (29 percent). Hill looks to break out in his 4th season, and clearly the Saints saw enough in him to match an offer sheet from the Chicago Bears, which included a no-trade clause.
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