Saints: Marquez Callaway could be the next Michael Thomas
By Kristen Wong
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway has been capturing everyone’s attention ever since he caught two glorious touchdowns in preseason. Could he be the next Michael Thomas?
As it stands, he is the de facto No. 1 wideout with Thomas out for at least the first five games and Tre’Quan Smith recovering from injury as well.
Callaway’s chemistry with Winston has shone all throughout preseason and there’s no reason the duo won’t continue making big plays when the season starts. In the Saints’ preseason opener, Callaway recorded three catches for 61 yards, and against the Jaguars, he recorded five catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
After the Jaguars game, Winston told reporters that “every time the lights turn on, [Callaway] does an amazing job [at receiver].”
No one would have thought it would be Callaway who takes the spotlight in 2021, but after just one year with the Saints, he could be ready to dominate the passing offense.
Maybe it was a twist of fate when Callaway changed his jersey number from 12 to 1, but he’s started to embrace his key role given the injuries and absences that have crippled the Saints’ wide receiver room.
Callaway’s 2020 season with the Saints ended surprisingly well despite being an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee. Last year, he featured in 11 games and recorded 213 receiving yards on 27 targets and 21 receptions.
He was the seventh-most targeted player in 2020, behind Smith, Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders.
New Orleans Saints wideout Marquez Callaway has super high ceiling in 2021
Now, are we saying Callaway can have a record-breaking season like Michael Thomas did in 2019?
1725 receiving yards in a single season is…..a whole lot of yards for relatively unproven wide receiver to haul in.
Callaway would essentially have to replicate his performance against the Jaguars for every game in the season, and even then, New Orleans are bound to face more difficult defenses than Jacksonville’s.
Getting the targets shouldn’t be a problem, but a host of other factors come into play. For one thing, Jameis Winston isn’t Drew Brees. That much is pretty obvious.
Winston is a much better passer and deep thrower than, say, Taysom Hill, but his inconsistencies could get the better of him, and there’s no chance Callaway can breakout if Winston falls into a rut and starts getting picked.
Assuming all else goes smoothly, though, Callaway could easily quadruple his 2020 yardage this season, and even though that only puts him at half Thomas’ 2019 yardage, it at least means he’s on the right track.
If you look at his player profile alone, Callaway shouldn’t have been this good so far. And if Michael Thomas was healthy, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
But as it stands, Callaway is the Saints’ No. 1 wide receiver and he deserves it far more than any other player. He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite, and we’re not going to be the ones to say he can’t impact the Saints the way Michael Thomas did in past years.
Just how big of an impact? That’s for him and Winston to figure out.