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Thomas has improved his statistical output in each of his four seasons and is coming off an NFL record-breaking 149 receptions for a league-high 1,725 yards and 9 touchdowns. The 27-Yr old Thomas is an elite offensive weapon and is nearly unstoppable through the short and intermediate zones. He has underrated athleticism, but Thomas dominates even the best defensive backs with his rare combination of physicality, incredible hands, and crisp route running skills.
Veteran wideout Ted Ginn Jr. started 2019 strong, catching 7 passes for 101 yards in a season-opening win over the Texans. The 35-Yr old Ginn would catch just 23 balls for 320 yards over the remaining 15 games though, and was often a non-factor in the offense. An unrestricted free agent, the 13-Yr veteran still has elite straight line speed to threaten deep, but struggles to separate underneath and has trouble holding on to the football.
Second-year receiver Tre’Quan Smith continues to tease with potential, but has done little to make anybody believe he can be a consistent offensive threat. A 3rd round pick in the 2018 draft, the 24-Yr old Smith caught only 18 passes for 234 yards in 2019, although he did catch five touchdowns. He has the size (6’2, 210-Lbs) and speed of a prototypical wideout but struggles to separate from coverage and often seems skittish in traffic.
Undrafted rookie Deonte Harris earned All-Pro honors with his elite kick return abilities. At just 5’6 170-Lbs., Harris is lightning-fast in the open field and is a deadly weapon with the ball in his hands. Harris was used little as a receiver during the regular season, catching just six passes, but flashed his gamebreaking potential with a 50-Yd reception against Minnesota in the playoffs. We may see Saints coach Sean Payton use Harris more in the offensive game plan this coming season.
New Orleans added two more undrafted rookies at wide receiver along with Harris last offseason. Emmanuel Butler and Lil’Jordan Humphrey both have good size but lack speed. Each showed nice potential during the preseason but neither were able to make a contribution during the regular season. The Saints will also welcome back Keith Kirkwood from injury this year. Kirkwood, who was an undrafted rookie in 2018, missed his second season with a hamstring injury. Another wideout with good size (6’3, 210-Lbs) but lacking great speed, Kirkwood is a physical player who operates well in traffic. He had 13 receptions for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns in eight games of action as a rookie, and had earned the trust of quarterback Drew Brees down the stretch.