The New Orleans Saints are an interesting team to say the least.
Despite having a 7-9 record last year, the team has come a long way since then. The Saints have made several improvements during this offseason, which in hopes will improve the team. Adding talent such as RB Adrian Peterson, DE Alex Okafor, and CB Marshon Lattimore, the New Orleans Saints want to improve.
The Saints acquired several players during the offseason. Those players will fight for certain positions on the roster. Fans wouldn’t consider it an improvement if the Saints hadn’t added new players. Needless to say, this offseason will be very exciting. Now, get ready Who Dat Nation! This week’s article I’ll be covering one of the top positional roster battles to look for, the 5th wide receiver spot.
If the New Orleans Saints end up rolling with five wide receivers whom many, including myself, project the team to do, then this position could become very interesting this offseason. After the departure of former Saint and now New England Patriot WR Brandin Cooks, this position group shifted a bit. Regardless, The competition for the 5th and final receiver spot on the team will be very intriguing to watch.
Let’s take a look at who’s already projected to make the team, and start for the Saints.
Michael Thomas – WR1
When it comes to being a dynamic threat to the team you play for, then look no further than Michael Thomas. Michael Thomas looks to improve after already having a phenomenal rookie season last year. After compiling 92 receptions for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns, Thomas still believes he has room for improvement. The rookie standout now in his second year has become more than a reliable option for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Thomas succeeded at plenty last season including: route running, creating separation, and being a physical mismatch against cornerbacks. Especially now, with the departure of former Saints receiver Brandin Cooks. Expect Thomas to oversee the role of the Saints #1 threat.
Willie Snead – WR2
Willie Snead, or better known as Mr. Reliable, looks to aid the Saints again as he enters his 3rd season with the team. Better known for his abilities in the slot, Snead produces for this offense, even though he isn’t the biggest receiver. Willie Snead has had productive seasons with the Saints. Snead has not only averaged at least 70 receptions for 900 yards and 3 touchdowns in both years while wearing Black and Gold but has become a favorable target for Drew Brees. Snead will have a productive role in this offense this season, as he always does. The receiver will most likely end up taking most of his snaps from the slot position this year, as he continues to further contribute to the New Orleans Saints.
Ted Ginn Jr – WR3
The experienced veteran receiver was a surprising yet very solid addition for the Saints this offseason. Formerly with the Saints division rival the Carolina Panthers, Ted Ginn Jr. will bring a nice mixture to the Saints in a positional group the team so desperately needs. Having a veteran presence will improve the knowledge, the experience, and the overall talent to thrive with Drew Brees. Ted Ginn Jr. should hopefully contribute plentiful as this upcoming season arises.
Brandon Coleman – WR4
In earlier seasons, Brandon Coleman has had a less than impactful role on the Saints. Unlike those years, the Saints are gonna expect a lot out of the team’s 4th WR option. If used right, Coleman could be the next Dez Bryant of wide receivers. The 6-foot-6 receiver is a physical mismatch against most cornerbacks. If used properly, expect the Saints to rely heavily on Coleman for success, especially in the red zone. In his two playing seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Brandon Coleman has compiled 56 receptions for 735 yards and 5 touchdowns. The 24-year old has a bright future with the Saints that could include a breakout performance this season.
Let’s now take a look at who could possess the 5th and possible final wide receiver position for the New Orleans Saints.
Travin Dural – UDFA, LSU
Travin Dural quickly drew notice from the Who Dat Nation as an LSU player. LSU fans are excited to see a Tiger finally on the Saints roster. The undrafted free agent could become a reliable option for the Saints like others have previously done.
Now, Travin Dural isn’t the flashiest of receivers measuring in at 6-foot-1 and measuring his speed around 4.5-4.6. Dural finds ways to excel at what he does. Unfortunately, he’s been plagued by injuries at times and other obstacles. Dural when available for LSU did succeed. During his time in college Dural compiled a total of 100 receptions for 1,716 yards and 13 touchdowns throughout the entire four years.
Although Travin Dural isn’t the perfect wide receiver, nobody in the National Football League is. For the record, even star athletes Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown still have bad days. With a little work, practice, and the mastermind at QB Drew Brees, Dural could surprise folks and make a run to fill the roster.
Formerly with the Detroit Lions, Corey Fuller at this point in time could be Dural’s main competition for the final position in this wide receiver group. The 2013 sixth round selection isn’t a bad receiver. Fuller just hasn’t been given the spotlight to shine. In Detroit, Fuller in two seasons compiled 18 receptions for 288 yards and 1 touchdown.
Recently, it had been observed that Fuller had been shining in Organized Team Activities or OTAs that started on May 25th. Fuller was seen making impressive catches and staying focused in locating and grabbing the ball. Corey Fuller even faired well against some of the Saints better cornerbacks including Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams. For a greater analysis on how Fuller did during OTAs, Who Dat Dish writer Ty Anania covered the event in an amazing article that can be found here.
There will certainly be some amazing positional battles to watch and look out for as this season soon approaches. Positional battles such as these, bring out the best of these athletes as coaches look to find the best players to accurately represent the New Orleans Saints. Until the final rosters are set, Who Dat Dish wants to know what you think! Which wide receivers would you like to see be a part of the New Orleans Saints?