Can Rashid Shaheed continue to elevate as a receiver for the Saints?

Rashid Shaheed has been able to improve as a wide receiver in two years with the New Orleans Saints, and he’s now expected to continue that trajectory.
New Orleans Saints v Indianapolis Colts
New Orleans Saints v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Two years ago, Rashid Shaheed was an undrafted player trying to make the New Orleans Saints roster. He ended up being released at the end of training camp, but was signed to the practice squad a day later. That proved to be a great decision for the Saints and Shaheed, because his opportunity came, and he hasn’t looked back.

After getting signed to the active roster during his rookie season, Shaheed immediately showcased his big-play ability, scoring a 44-yard rushing touchdown on his first NFL touch. A week later, Shaheed got the second touch of his career and it was another big play, hauling in a 53-yard touchdown pass.

He may have been a surprise to many people in the NFL, but Shaheed was a four-time All-American returner at Weber State; explosive plays are nothing new for him. That’s why, in 12 games as a rookie, Shaheed caught 28 passes for 488 yards and two touchdowns, while also carrying the ball four times for 57 yards and an additional touchdown. He improved those numbers last season to 46 receptions for 719 yards and five touchdowns. Shaheed also became a Pro Bowler, and First-Team All-Pro, as a returner.

Now, as he prepares for year three, Shaheed won’t be catching anyone off guard. In fact, he’ll actually enter the year with expectations. Everyone believes he will be a competent No. 2 receiver to Chris Olave. Will Shaheed be able to deliver on expectations?

Can Rashid Shaheed be the No. 2 receiver for the Saints?

There’s no reason to think Shaheed won’t be ready to deliver. Last season, when he wasn’t expected to be the No. 2 receiver, because Michael Thomas was still on the roster, Shaheed actually finished second on the team in receiving yards with 719, trailing only Olave. He only received 75 targets and played just 58% or the team’s offensive snaps.

Barring injury, that definitely won’t be the case in 2023. Saints new offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak will certainly involve Rashid Shaheed more in the offense. With a bigger role, he should be able to deliver more games like he had last season against the Indianapolis Colts, when he caught three passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. His explosiveness will definitely be welcomed in the offense.