New Orleans Saints: 10 players to protect in a hypothetical expansion draft

Leigh Oleszczak
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Saints to Protect – No. 5: Michael Thomas

The Saints need Michael Thomas because he’s their only proven wide receiver on the roster and — Well, he’s really good.

Last year wasn’t a true indicator as to how good Thomas could be but we saw him at peak form in 2019 when he caught 149 passes for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. That performance earned him the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year award, which was well-deserved for the former Ohio State product.

Thomas was injured for most of 2020 but the Saints are confident he can return to 2019 form. If the Saints left Thomas unprotected, they wouldn’t have any good receiver options remaining on their roster. Tre’Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway, and Kawaan Baker aren’t anywhere close to being on Thomas’ level, so yeah, this one is a no-brainer for the Saints.

The only reason I put Thomas this low is that he’s been a trade candidate for quite some time now and with the injuries last year, New Orleans could consider what a future without him might look like.

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