Nick Toon became the first wide receiver drafted in the fourth round by New Orleans since 2006. Hopefully he will turn out better than his predecessor, Chase Lyman.
Lyman tore his ACL for a second time once he made it to the pros, and was forced to retire. Toon has dealt with several injuries throughout college, while his father, Al Toon, went through a serious string of concussions during his playing days.
The Saints have made the most of some of their later picks by adding to the receiving game. Marques Colston was a seventh-round pick, while Jimmy Graham was selected at pick No. 95. Both were targeted over 100 times last season by Drew Brees.
Toon was hard to pass up in Round 4 this year. With the departure of Robert Meachem to San Diego earlier in the offseason, an immediate spot is open for the rookie to make an impact.
Brees threw the ball 657 times in 2011. Seven Saints recorded 30-plus catches. Meachem finished with 40 receptions for 620 yards and six touchdowns. The reason to keep this in mind is that Toon is easily comparable to the former first-round pick.
Meachem measured in at 6'2" and 214 pounds at the NFL Combine in 2007. Toon was only one pound heavier and just a slight margin shorter. Meanwhile, Meachem clocked a 4.41-second 40-yard dash time at his pro day, while Toon came in at 4.43.
Despite the fact that Meachem was known as more of a burner, Toon will fill in nicely in his stead.
He has solid route-running skills, and if he can learn to create more separation, Brees will absolutely love his presence. Colston, Graham and Darren Sproles will likely receive a ton of attention once again. The rest of the field should have some interesting competition, though.
Toon will have to compete against Lance Moore and Devery Henderson for playing time. He is still a rookie, so don’t expect any ridiculous numbers right away. Meachem and Henderson didn’t produce much in their first years, either, but the Saints offense has changed a bit since then.
Graham caught 31 balls in 15 games as a rookie in 2010. Expect stats somewhere in this range from Toon, as long as he can stay healthy throughout 2012.