Who Will Emerge as a Legit Replacement for Robert Meachem in New Orleans?

Jason BernosContributor IIJune 20, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:   Robert Meachem #17 of the New Orleans Saints catches a pass against  Aaron Berry #32 of the Detroit Lions during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Robert Meachem is off to San Diego to replace Vincent Jackson as their primary receiver. That leaves a big hole on the other side of Marques Colston. And the inconsistent Devery Henderson just doesn't fill that void.

Meachem might not have lived up to his first-round status, but he was a more reliable option than Henderson and always came up with clutch plays. His big strip and score in that Redskins game in '09 will live on in Saints lore for generations to come.

Replacing Meachem means replacing about 40 catches, over 600 yards receiving and seven touchdowns a game. There are a couple of candidates on the current Saints roster, but there's already one in particular that has been compared to "Meach" (h/t Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune).

Joe Morgan.

Morgan, an undrafted rookie free agent of a year ago, is coming off a "redshirt" rookie campaign after spending it on injured reserve with a knee injury. He is fully healthy this offseason and is showing that off with a strong start to OTAs, so far.

Morgan had a big preseason last year with a touchdown in each game he played in, one on a punt return and the other on a 50-plus yard bomb. He is a dynamic playmaker who adds another dimension in the return game. His presence in that aspect could keep Darren Sproles fresher on the offensive side.

The Canton, Ohio native is primed for a Victor Cruz-type breakout this season. Cruz had a great preseason his rookie year and ended it on injured reserve, much like Morgan. Cruz then came back in his sophomore year, 2011, and took the league by storm.

I know that Nick Toon was drafted in the fourth round this year and has been earning rave reviews this offseason, but he doesn't have that top-end speed that Morgan has, much like Meachem did.

That's what will separate those two in the competition for the spot across from Colston; Morgan's ability to blow the top off a defense on any play.

If that doesn't sound like Meachem, I don't know what does.