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3 New Orleans Saints that should’ve been better in 2020

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 03: Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the New Orleans Saints carries the ball for yardage during the second quarter of their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 03: Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the New Orleans Saints carries the ball for yardage during the second quarter of their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Emmanuel Sanders

The New Orleans Saints signed Emmanuel Sanders to a two-year, $16 million deal contract. Sanders was meant to come in and immediately serve as the team’s No. 2 receiver to the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas.

Sanders, who had four games of 75 or more yards this season, didn’t live up to expectations.

While he missed some time on the Covid-19 list, Sanders played in 14 games and started just 5. The former Pro Bowler ended the season with 726 yards on 61 receptions. It wasn’t just Sanders’ fault, but his numbers were largely a reflection of how he was used.

Sanders ended with a career-high 74.4 catch rate, so when he was thrown to, he made the most of it. Despite being the No. 1 receiver for the bulk of games with Thomas out, Sanders recorded under six targets per game. He needed to be more involved in the offense.

Sanders also had the highest drop rate in the last three seasons (the only data football-reference has on the stat). It was a rocky season for the veteran, but when he originally signed, it felt like he would’ve been a more potent force in the offense.

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