Don't Overlook This Player When Talking About the New Orleans Saints

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst ISeptember 23, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Sheldon Brown #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles tries to break up a pass to Devery Henderson #19 of the New Orleans Saints during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 20, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Devery Henderson, for the vast majority of his career, has been a "yeah, but..."

"Yeah, Devery's got great speed, but he runs poor routes."

"Yeah, Devery's led the league two of the past three seasons in yards per catch, but he has too many drive-killing drops."

Yeah, but not anymore.

When Henderson became an unrestricted free agent this past spring, I thought he was long gone. In my mind, the Saints would not want to spend a lot of money for someone who had been no better than their third wide receiver, and Henderson's speed would make him a tempting commodity for any team that badly needed to upgrade their wide receiver corps.

Man, was I wrong.

Not only was Henderson one of the first free agents to re-sign with the Saints, but he did it to the tune of four years, $12 million.

Now I know that's not a whole lot in today's NFL, but it is for a guy who catches the ball twice a game.

Even tough he seemed to have improved upon his career-long concentration issues in 2008, Henderson's signing was one of those things that made me go "hmmm."

He should have had more than 32 catches in a season in which Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey, and Reggie Bush all missed considerable time.

Lance Moore's 2008 emergence, the expectations placed on former first round pick Robert Meachem, and Sean Payton's infatuation with Adrian Arrington seemed to have Henderson no better than fourth on the depth chart and possibly fifth.

Wrong, again.

The Saints waived Arrington when rosters had to be trimmed to 53 and Henderson opened the season with five catches, 103 yards, and a touchdown against the Lions.

He followed that up with three catches for 71 yards against the Eagles secondary.

More importantly, he has yet to drop a catch-able ball during this young season.

He is second on the team with 12 targets. Drew Brees is 8-12 for 174 yards and one touchdown when throwing to Henderson this season.

Expect Henderson's productivity (and fantasy value) to improve as the season wears on. Two of the three catches he had against Philadelphia came on third and long, and Brees values receivers he can count on in big-time situations.

If he can continue to come through in the clutch, he will turn himself into a "yeah!" receiver.

No buts about it.