Should the New Orleans Saints Trade Away a Wide Receiver?
One of the great aspects of the Saints' offense is its diversity. If a defense focuses its efforts on the stopping the pass, New Orleans will cut it up with its version of a thunder and lightning run game. Try to stop the run, and Drew Brees will dissect your secondary for 300 yards and four or five touchdowns.
It's not just Brees that defensive coordinators have to worry about when the Saints dial up the pass. The Saints quarterback routinely hits seven or eight players with a pass in a game and sometimes within a single drive.
New Orleans has four receivers that could start for most teams, a trio of tight ends that are each threats to catch the ball and make a play, and a pair of running backs who are lethal after the catch.
Is it possible, though, to have too many weapons?
I know that notion seems laughable at first, but take a look at the Saints' wide receiver depth.
There are six receivers, Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, Courtney Roby, and Adrian Arrington, that are good enough to make any 53-man roster.
There's also Larry Beavers who had a 97-yard kickoff return in the first preseason game against the Patriots.
Let's not forget Rod Harper whose injury history and not his skill set are holding him back from making a larger impact.
All this talent and yet recent history tells us that New Orleans is only going to keep five of these guys, and the Saints could use some more depth at other positions.
Let's examine each of these receivers in a little more detail and determine the likelihood of a trade.
Larry Beavers and Rod Harper
Team Role: Both are considered long shots to make the roster because of the talent ahead of them, though one could easily wind up on the practice squad.
Chances of being traded: Five percent. New Orleans is not going to get much for a player who's never appeared in a regular season game and is good only for returns. However, a team may get desperate for return help.
Team Role: Roby emerged in 2009 as the Saints' chief kick returner. He's only caught one pass in two seasons in New Orleans but did catch 21 passes as rookie in Tennessee in 2005.
Chances of being traded: 25 percent. Roby would be a fourth receiver on most teams and has already proven he can handle the kick return duties over the course of a whole season.
Team Role: Sean Payton took a small gamble in 2008 when he traded the team's sixth round pick in the 2009 draft to get back into seventh round of the 2008 draft and select Arrington out of the University of Michigan. Arrington has shown a lot of promise but a toe injury put him on injured reserved in 2008 and was relegated to the practice squad in 2009.
Chances of being traded: 20 percent. Arrington's skills he's exhibited in the preseason are on display for the entire league to see. He's got good size (6'3", 192 lbs) and can make plays after the catch. However, like Beavers and Harper, he's never appeared in a regular season game and no team would probably offer more than a seventh round pick.
Team Role: Colston has been with the team since his rookie year in 2006 and is the unquestioned leader of this group. His above average hands, size, and excellent timing and route running all make him Brees' favorite target. He's good for 70 catches per year.
Chances of being traded: Zero. I can't imagine a scenario in which Brees allows his favorite receiver to be traded.
Team Role: Meachem, the team's first round pick in 2007, had bust written all over him when he hardly saw the field in his first two seasons. He finally started to validate his first round status with a break out season last year as he led the team in touchdown receptions. Look for Meachem to use his game-breaking ability to challenge Colston as the team's number one receiver.
Chances of being traded: Zero, unless someone offers a first round pick and that's not likely to happen.
Team Role: Over the past few seasons, Moore has emerged as one of Brees' most reliable targets during crunch time. Moore stepped up in 2008 with 79 catches, 10 touchdowns, and nearly 1,000 yards when Colston went down for several games with a wrist injury. He is more quick than fast and does most of his damage on underneath routes.
Chances of being traded: 15 percent. Moore was very limited by injuries a year ago and so his trade value is severely diminished.
Team Role: Henderson is the team's fastest receiver and his primarily used as a deep threat. Plagued by a case of the drops early in his career, it seems that he has fixed that problem over the past two seasons. Last season, Henderson had the most catches of career (51), but his yards per catch (15.8), while still good, was far below his career average of nearly 20.
Chances of being traded: 35 percent. If the Saints decide to trade one of their top eight receivers, it's most likely to be Henderson. He's never going to be a number one receiver but can be a solid number two and has the speed that every team covets for its vertical passing game.
However, there aren't many trades at this point of the preseason unless the player is disgruntled, and there have been no indications whatsoever that Henderson is unhappy with his status with the team.
Follow Paul Augustin on Twitter @PAugustin.
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