What can the Saints expect from DeonteHarris?
A player who likely holds a special place in Saints fans’ hearts, Deonte Harris doesn’t need to solidify himself as a receiving option to have a role on the roster moving forward.
After leading the league in punt return yards as a rookie in 2019 while being named as an All-Pro returner, Harris continued his dominance in the return game in 2020, averaging an impressive 12.2 yards per punt return. There are few kick returners that have the dynamism that he has:
However, Harris did flash the ability to be more than just a special teams asset late in 2020, which adds a lot of intrigue heading into 2021. Not only did he total 186 receiving yards with multiple games over 40 receiving yards, but he demonstrated his abilities after the catch with 6.4 yards after the catch per reception.
The main coming-out party, though, was in the playoffs. Serving as the primary slot option in the team’s Wild Card game against the Bears, Harris accumulated 83 receiving yards while catching all seven of his targets, averaging 8.4 yards after catch per reception. All of a sudden, he wasn’t just producing as an occasional player, but an actual starter.
Then again, Harris is heading into his third season in the NFL with no track record coming out of Assumption College. Additionally, his four-average depth of target indicates he’s still likely to be used more as a “gadget” option than a true receiver.
As a versatile weapon out of the backfield or in the slot, similarly to Percy Harvin and draft prospects Kadarius Toney and Rondale Moore, his prowess as a runner makes him well-suited to succeed. Once again, though, relying on him to be a starting slot receiver would be quite the risk.