ESPN names Saints sleeper who could break out in 2024

The offense could be invigorated by this 2023 draft pick.
New Orleans Saints, A.T. Perry
New Orleans Saints, A.T. Perry / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

This coming season is a bit of a mystery for the New Orleans Saints, as fans aren't too sure what to expect out of the team. This offseason has seen New Orleans do what they do best and push big chunks of money down the line in effort to get salary cap compliant, but didn't make too many notable offseason moves as a result.

How good is this Saints roster, right now?

ESPN's Aaron Schatz helped put together a recent piece from the network based on overall roster rankings, where the Saints checked in at no. 20 overall. Aside from assessing the roster, one Saints player stood out as a potential breakout, in Schatz's eyes.

Schatz picked former fifth-round pick A.T. Perry as the team's "non-starter to know."

Said Schatz of Perry:

"Perry gets his first shot at being the third receiver for a team that used 11 personnel on the majority of offensive snaps last season. He caught 12 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns as a fifth-round rookie out of Wake Forest, including four receptions of 29 yards or more. Can he possibly build on that performance in a larger sample size?"

There is a wealth of opportunity for A.T. Perry to break out in 2024

After the departure of Michael Thomas, that leaves the Saints' offense with 64 vacated targets in his place. Based on Perry's 2023 campaign and his catch percentage, if we took Thomas' targets and gave them to the second-year pro, you could be looking at a 2024 line similar to: 42 receptions for 700-800 yards.

How many touchdowns Perry scores, though, is the real question. Four of his lone 12 receptions went for touchdowns, and with his monstrous 6-foot-5 frame, he could become a real red zone threat.

This offense has been lacking another true option, and based on the small sample size we've seen from Perry, he very well could be that guy. Perry may have only caught 12 passes as a rookie, but one cannot overlook his team-leading 20.5 yards per reception. Clearly, he poses a problem to opposing defenses.

For the Saints to have any real shot at a division title or playoff berth in 2024, they're going to need someone else to step up other than Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed. Could Perry be that X-factor this offense desperately needs?