New Orleans Saints: Lack of depth at wide receiver may be costly

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Marquez Callaway #12 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Marquez Callaway #12 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Can Marquez Callaway go from UDFA to Saints star?

It’s not common that undrafted rookie free agents play a meaningful role for a Super Bowl contending team, but that’s the position Marquez Callaway found himself in last year.

To be fair, it was mainly out of necessity due to injury, but Callaway’s production was very encouraging. Serving more as a target in the short passing game (8.4 average depth of target), he hauled in 77.8% of the passes thrown his way and performed well when asked to be a starter. For instance, he had eight receptions for 75 yards in Week 7 vs the Panthers, and his overall 1.61 yards/route run is quite respectable.

Does Callaway profile as a starting receiver moving forward? That’s unclear.

After all, there’s a reason he went undrafted — He doesn’t fit the mold of a building block at the position. He never totaled more than 635 receiving yards during his four-year career at Tennessee, and his 4.55 40-yard dash demonstrates his overall limited athleticism. He averaged just 10.1 yards per reception, after all, and does not figure as a big-play threat moving forward.

In critical situations, such as on third downs and in the red zone, his skillset is exceptionally useful. Once again, though, the limited overall pay-off of those abilities make him better suited as a depth option, as opposed to someone who’s going to consistently threaten opposing defenses. Perhaps Winston will give him chances to shine with contested catches, but it’ll take incredible prowess there to justify him as a starting receiver this season.

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