Offensive prowess has always been synonymous with the New Orleans Saints. That is, until their passing game ranked last in yardage in 2021. Now, there’s a bit of a renaissance expected in the wide receiver room that could change that fortune heading into this season, getting the offense’s reputation back on track.
However, despite their revamped unit, the Saints placed in the second tier of Pro Football Focus’s receiving corps rankings. These rankings take into consideration not only wideouts, but tight ends as well. The tight end depth chart may be one of most open units on the New Orleans roster. While it’s reasonable to expect a leap from last year’s production, even the new weapons on the outside barely crack PFF’s top-15 landing at 14. Here’s what PFF’s Ben Linsey wrote of the ranking:
“Offseason additions Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry take the Saints’ receiving corps from one of the thinner groups across the NFL to one with promise, particularly if Michael Thomas returns at full strength.
New Orleans secured an excellent prospect-team fit by snagging Olave the first round, even if they paid a premium to move up and get him. He’s a polished route-runner who can separate downfield. That shows in his 12 touchdowns on throws 20-plus yards downfield across his final two seasons at Ohio State (fourth-most in the FBS). That profile is what New Orleans was missing at wide receiver in 2021.”
Let’s be real, the Saints were missing another huge profile at wide receiver in 2021, that of Thomas. Getting him back (head coach Dennis Allen expects Thomas to return for training camp) along with the additions noted above should be a huge boost for the New Orleans offense. But I don’t think this ranking is unwarranted until the team knows where it’s going and what it has at tight end.
If third-year tight end Adam Trautman can take the step forward most are hoping for, that’s a start. More reps for Juwan Johnson, the converted wide receiver, and a pass-catching role for Taysom Hill, the multifaceted quarterback, could add a series of dynamics and versatility hard for any defense to stop.