How the Saints Can Still Improve in the Pass-Catching Department


It’s only been a few weeks, but it certainly feels like the Saints continue to have more questions than answers right now. Most of them are focused on how they’re going to improve offensively, but perhaps the biggest mystery lies in the wide receiver/tight end position. Malcolm Jenkins’ recent retirement also raises concerns, as New Orleans will enter 2022 with two new safeties defending the back end.

This week, Dennis Allen and Mickey Loomis emphasized the importance of adding to the wide receiver zone, and it’s desperately needed. Naturally, a quick look at how things turned out leaves a lot to the imagination, but there are still options on the table. Here’s a look at how the Saints can still improve in the pass-catching department to help give Jameis Winston a better prospect.

Sign a veteran

There are still options on the market that could suit the Saints. However, things are a little crazy after Christian Kirk’s unexpected massive contract. New Orleans may have to wait to see how things pan out, but they could consider bringing in experienced veterans on a one-year contract to attend training camp and possibly work their way into a role. start or key. Here are some considerations.

  • Jarvis Landry (29) – He’s obviously the top player on many teams’ wish lists. However, he was looking for money and swapped agents. He had two seasons in Cleveland, so it would be hard to throw an open checkbook at him.
  • Odell Beckham Jr (29 years old) – He got his wish by picking the right team to get a Super Bowl ring. It’s like he ran with the Rams before looking elsewhere.
  • Emmanuel Sanders (35 years old) – He will be looking for a contender who is looking to make a Super Bowl run, which would likely eliminate the Saints. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him retire, but he did well in New Orleans. Maybe he still has one race left.
  • Julio Jones (33) – Sounds attractive on paper, but injury issues with Jones are a huge factor. 19 games in two seasons is hugely concerning, so whoever lands him will have to rely on him, likely running out of time.

Players like Mohamed Sanu, AJ Green, Desean Jackson and TY Hilton have been several seasons away from being at the top of the pecking order. However, it might be worth taking a look at training camp on a very low-risk deal. Essentially for the Saints, the choices are slim.

trade for someone

We’ve seen teams make waves in the trade market this offseason, with Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill among the moves. New Orleans could use a capital project to acquire talent, but what would that even look like?

  • Laviska Shenault (Jaguars), N’Keal Harry (Patriots) – These are two of the most obvious trade candidates from the reports. Both haven’t had the best career starts, and the interest is there from the teams.
  • Corey Davis (Jets) – Davis is do work with Zach Wilson this offseason. It certainly looks good on the surface, but with the top 10 picks and another at No. 35, could they help secure another weapon for Wilson? Re-signing Braxton Berrios and then bringing Elijah Moore out in a big way could make Davis a strange man.
  • Darius Slayton (Giants) – Slayton makes the most sense given his ties to new wide receivers coach Kodi Burns. Sterling Shepard might also have deserved consideration, but he just reworked his contract and took a pay cut. The Giants have Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, John Ross and Collin Johnson. That’s almost too many mouths to feed.
  • KJ Hamler (Broncos) – There are certainly concerns given the injury history, but Hamler is somewhat in the shadows with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick being the locks of Russell Wilson’s top targets. He has potential and he is still very young.

Other considerations that might take a little more work and thought would be Brandin Cooks (Texans), Keenan Allen (Chargers), Adam Thielen (Vikings) and Brandon Aiyuk (49ers). In other words, nothing is really impossible and saints can handle all financial problems.

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Take a flyer on Kyle Rudolph

Eric Ebron would tend to be considered, but he’s also coming off an injury and has been upstaged by Pat Freiermuth. Kyle Rudolph may be a good deal for the Saints to consider, as they desperately need better production out of tight end position. New Orleans had some success getting close results later in their career like Ben Watson, but forever lives in the shadow of what Jimmy Graham did.

Rudolph didn’t have the type of yardage and catch production like he did in 2016, but still toured in respectable numbers with the Vikings. The Giants weren’t necessarily the right fit for him, and he’s someone looking to keep playing. The Saints enter next season with Adam Trautman, Nick Vannett, Juwan Johnson and Taysom Hill all in charge. On the contrary, a veteran like Rudolph could help others.

If New Orleans isn’t convinced those options are the best, then they should look to someone like Colorado State’s Trey McBride.


Double Down and draft

No matter what happens, the Saints need to watch the draft for answers at receiver. The good news is that they can fix this problem at different stages. Presumably at No. 18, the team could consider getting Chris Olave from Ohio State or Jameson Williams from Alabama. Arkansas’ Treylon Burks would be another one to watch in the first round.

On day 2, there are still some really attractive goals. Penn State’s Jahan Dotson (who could be in the first round), Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore and NDSU’s Christian Watson could be attractive targets in the second round. For the third round, Calvin Austin of Memphis, Jalen Tolbert of southern Alabama, Khalil Shakir of Boise State and Alec Pierce of Cincinnati would also be strong considerations.

Getting at least a wide in the first 3 rounds would be good for the Saints, and they will no doubt add to the undrafted spot as well.

The need for improvement

We’ve already discussed how the wide receiver production last season was the worst under Sean Payton, and simply bringing Michael Thomas back won’t save things. Yes, having a stable option at quarterback with Jameis Winston will help everyone, and you might even go a step further by saying how important it will be to have the right offensive line to protect him.

Either way, it’s a familiar cast of characters returning to the Saints. There is certainly promise and potential, but injecting new blood into the group will be a good thing. Not trying to improve will almost certainly put the team on a difficult path. Hopefully we see some major effort and attention there.

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