After finishing 7-9 for the third consecutive season, the New Orleans Saints are in a bad situation that needs to be fixed before the beginning of next season. They struggled on defense throughout the entire year, giving up a league worst 454 points, or 28.4 points per game. Their 6,006 yards given up on defense was also among the worst in the league, finishing 27th overall.
Their offense, however, is the only thing they do not need to worry about, especially with Drew Brees as the QB. The 38-year old superstar has lead the Saints offense to a Top-5 finish, in total yards, nine of his ten years with New Orleans, including seven times finishing first or second. They have also been the league's number one offense five times since 2006 making Drew Brees one of the best offensive weapons in NFL history.
He is not only the leader of a potent offense, he leads a passing attack that has consistently been ranked fourth or higher since 2006, which includes the six times they finished first in the league. He has broken more records than we can count and has career numbers that are among the best in NFL history. He has thrown for 66,111 yards with 5,836 completions, 465 touchdowns, 220 interceptions, and a 66.6% Completion percentage.
How about we take a look at his 8 best and 7 worst receivers since joining the league?
15 Best: Kenny Stills
We were torn on whether Kenny Stills should be on the best list or the worst list because of his inconsistency during his two seasons in New Orleans. But we decided to make the determination to add him to the best list because he did improve from his rookie season to his second year before digressing and taking a step back in 2015 with the Miami Dolphins.
Drew Brees did manage to connect with him 95 times through two seasons with 1,572 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. He was more of a deep play threat in the Saints offense, averaging 20.0 yards per reception during his 2013 rookie season. His time in Miami has not done much to help his overall game and he has continued to struggle as a boom or bust option for the Dolphins.
14 Worst: Jalen Saunders
Jalen Saunders (Pictured Left) was a stud wide receiver in college, playing for both the Fresno State Bulldogs, for his Freshmen and Sophomore seasons, and the Oklahoma Sooners for his final two years in college. He managed to earn himself quite a reputation in college and wound up finishing his collegiate career with 3,085 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns. His impressive career earned him a fourth round draft pick by the New York Jets in 2014 where he would only return six punts for 26 yards before he was let go in late September. He then began to travel and signed with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks before finally landing in New Orleans after Brandin Cooks was sent to injured reserve.
He only caught one pass for seven yards in his NFL career, and it was from Drew Brees during his short six-game stint. He never really turned into a starter and was eventually traded to the New England Patriots, who released him before the Chicago Bears signed him.
He was suspended for 10 games in 2016 after violating the league's substance abuse policy.
13 Best: Devery Henderson
Not many NFL players can spend their entire careers in football in their hometown but Devery Henderson accomplished just that after growing up in Opelousas, Louisiana before playing for LSU, in Baton Rouge, just a couple hours down the highway. Although he was never the biggest wide receiver, he made up for it with elite speed and during the 2004 NFL combine, he was clocked with a 4.36 second 40-yard dash time, one of the fastest of the entire combine. His speed and average size turned him into a second round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints where he would turn into one of the best wide receivers in team history, helping them get their first and only Super Bowl ring.
He worked out perfectly with the revamped 2006 New Orleans Saints offense after the 2004 and 2005 seasons, where he played very little. He turned into Drew Brees's main deep threat and for three consecutive seasons, Henderson averaged 23.2 yards per catch.
12 Worst: David Boston
In 1998, David Boston caught 85 passes for 1,435 yards and 13 touchdowns. He immediately turned into a freak of an athlete standing 6'2", weighing 240 pounds, and running a 4.47 second 40-yard dash. His size and speed combination was something the NFL was not prepared for because he was built more like a linebacker than a wide receiver that could run past most defenders. He came in with all the hype and ended up being drafted eighth overall during the 1999 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
His 2000 and 2001 seasons, the Cardinals got everything they had hoped for and he put up an average of 84 receptions, 1,377 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns for both seasons. But he then left for the San Diego Chargers in 2003 and signed a seven-year deal worth $47 million, with $12 million guaranteed. Eventhough he caught 70 passes for 880 yards and seven scores, he was traded after one season because of his terrible off-field behavior which included cursing out a coach.
11 Best: Curtis Conway
When Drew Brees was in San Diego, he had one star wide receiver that outperformed the rest of the Chargers receiving core, forming an alliance with Drew through his first two seasons in the league. Curtis Conway was their star wide receiver and in 2001 and 2002, he partnered up with Drew Brees for 128 receptions for 1,977 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He truly earned respect during his days in Chicago with the Bears before heading to the beaches of San Diego. He ended up in New York in 2003 and San Francisco in 2004 before finally hanging up his cleats and retiring from the league. He has since become a sports broadcaster and works as a studio analyst for the San Diego Chargers, which he began in 2015.
10 Worst: Dondre Gilliam
Unfortunately, not all of these wide receivers were talented enough to earn themselves a spot on the best column and Dondre Gilliam is one of the bad ones because of his extremely short stint with the San Diego Chargers following the 2001 NFL Draft, where he went undrafted. He eventually signed with the Chargers and was sent to the NFL Europe to play for the Scottish Claymores but it was just another detour on his short-lived NFL career that lasted just two seasons.
While playing with Drew Brees, he managed just seven games in two years with 6 receptions for 95 yards. Of the 95 yards, one of those went for 37 yards. Dondre Gilliam was one of those rare talents that just never panned out in the NFL. He was discovered after playing his college ball at Millersville University of Philadelphia.
9 Best: Michael Thomas
When the New Orleans Saints drafted Michael Thomas in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, many saw it as a gift who fell to the right team, at the right time. He has played only one season with Drew Brees and the NFL's top-ranked offense but has shown everyone that he was their best choice of the 2016 draft. The former Ohio State Buckeye started 12 games and progressively improved each weekend until he became one of Drew's top two targets, alongside teammate Brandin Cooks.
The combination of Thomas and Cooks has given Drew Brees a chance to turn the Saints back into a Super Bowl contender before he retires thanks to a 92 receptions season where he had 1,137 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
8 Worst: Adrian Arrington
After foregoing his Senior season with the Michigan Wolverines, Adrian Arrington must have been told he was a top-tier prospect that could be drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft's first few rounds. However, he failed to impress the scouts around the league and wound up almost going undrafted before the New Orleans Saints decided to give him a shot and used their seventh round draft pick on him, the 237th overall choice.
But, even after being one of the Wolverines top wide receivers in 2007, he never reached his potential and he battled multiple injuries, forcing to cut short his NFL career after just a few seasons. He was actually a member of the Saints roster from 2008 until 2012 but only played in five games with nine catches for 110 yards.
7 Best: Robert Meachem
One of the main reasons Adrian Arrington never earned himself a spot on the New Orleans Saints roster was the emergence of University of Tennessee's star wide receiver Robert Meachem, who was drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
His value needs to be explained because his numbers do not tell the entire story of how he and Drew Brees worked out so well together. He was a complimentary wide receiver that helped spread the defenders and distract them from players like Lance Moore, Deverey Henderson, and Marques Colston. He was never an elite wide receiver but that was not what he was destined for anyways. He was built for being a complimentary player, rather than a star. The Saints let him go in 2012 and it showed as they dropped from being the number one offense to the third ranked offense and finishing 7-9 that season. He ended up coming back for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
6 Worst: Greg Camarillo
Greg Camarillo signed with the San Diego Chargers in 2006 after going undrafted in the NFL Draft. He played in four games without a single catch and ended up signing with the Miami Dolphins in 2007, where he became known as a contributing wide receiver. For three years he managed to catch 113 passes for 1,325 yards, and four touchdowns with the Dolphins. He played two years in Minnesota before showing up in New Orleans for the 2012 season where he played in five games.
During his five games, he caught four passes for 44 yards, barely making a dent with the New Orleans Saints offense, or Drew Brees. Some times, a player just does not have chemistry with a QB and ends up becoming lost in the depth chart. For all of the things Greg Camarillo could do right, the one thing he lacked was elite size and speed.
5 Best: Brandin Cooks
It might be a little too soon to rate Brandin Cooks so highly on the list but in three seasons with the Saints, Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks and begun a brand new partnership that could extend Drew's career another few years. Since entering the league in 2014, Cooks is only behind Odell Beckham and Mike Evans in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns from players drafted in 2014. It sounds like a very specific statistic but even if you look at the entire NFL over the past three seasons, he is 12th overall in the same three statistics.
So it might be a little forward to presume he is going to continue to average 1,000 yards and six touchdowns a year, but thanks to his world-class speed and incredible catching, there is very little to prove otherwise.
4 Worst: Brandon Coleman
Since 2014, the New Orleans Saints have been waiting for Brandon Coleman to turn into a star but he has consistently failed and struggled with injuries since signing with the Saints leaving him just a few games away from the unemployment line. In two seasons in the NFL, although he was signed in 2014 but missed the entire season because of injury, he has managed just 56 receptions for 735 yards and five touchdowns.
Why is he being ranked so high after just two seasons? He has been given multiple chances to earn himself a spot but he not only has trouble getting open, he has issues dropping the ball. At 6'6", his size and speed made him an interesting enough target that the Saints decided to gamble on him and it has failed to payoff. It might not ever pan out and the Saints could be in the market for another wide receiver before the start of the 2017 season.
3 Best: Lance Moore
With the New Orleans Saints, Lance Moore had his best years catching 346 passes, 4,281 yards, and 38 touchdowns. He played for the Saints, and with Drew Brees, from 2006 until 2013. He ended up playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions in his final two seasons before retiring in 2016 at the age of 32.
But his impressive career with the Saints did not begin right away. He was an undrafted free agent that signed with the Cleveland Browns before being released and then heading down to New Orleans who sent him to the NFL Europe to play with the Berlin Thunder. It was not until his 2008 NFL season that he would explode into a legitimate star on the Saints roster. But regardless of what he did that season, or any other season, the one play he will forever be remembered for was the two-point conversion he scored during Super Bowl XLIV to give the Saints a seven point lead with under six minutes left to play.
2 Worst: Pat Batteaux
Back in 2001, Wide Receiver Pat Batteaux graduated from TCU and signed with the San Diego Chargers. It turned out to be nothing more than a eight game contract because Pat spent very little time on the field in 2001. In fact, for the season, he caught three passes for 25 yards and no touchdowns in the five games where he actually played.
In college, Patrick was a bit of an all-around prospect and not only caught passes, he threw them too. From 1998 to 1999, he threw 166 passes for the Horned Frogs, completing 82 of them with 762 yards, 5 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He was most fortunate to have played with LaDainian Tomlinson too. Pat's NFL career might not have lasted very long but it was longer than most average college players and he can thank LT for carrying that team to national prominence.
1 Best: Marques Colston
Marques Colston spent a few extra seasons at Hofstra thanks to a shoulder injury that cost him the 2004 season. He was medically redshirted and it let him play another season before finally declaring for the NFL draft where the New Orleans Saints drafted him four spots from the final pick of the 2006 draft. He was supposed to be a Tight End but the Saints had other plans and immediately became one of their starting wide receivers.
He had a rookie season to remember and ended up almost winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, finishing second. Compared to Reggie Bush, who they selected second overall that year, he wound up the better player and it's all thanks to Drew Brees.
Drew loved throwing to Marques Colston and every time he made a reception, he got better. The two of them formed a chemistry that is tough to replicate and wound up with 711 career receptions for 9,759 yards, and 72 touchdowns.
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