New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas finished the 2016 regular season with the team's franchise rookie records for receptions (92), receiving yards (1,137) and receiving touchdowns (nine), per NFL Communications.
Thomas led all rookies in each of the three receiving categories as well. While he couldn't have joined a more pass-friendly organization, the Ohio State product earned his playing time and looks, receiving a team-high 122 targets on the campaign.
Although the Saints didn't finish the 2016 season as planned, going 7-9 and missing the playoffs, the offense wasn't at fault for the struggles. New Orleans led the league in total offense (426 yards per game), and quarterback Drew Brees threw for a league-high 5,208 yards.
The team's leaky defense was its biggest downfall. The defensive unit allowed 375.4 yards per game (sixth-worst) and 28.4 points per contest (second-worst), placing it near the bottom of the league overall. Injuries early on may have inflated some of the stats, as the unit slightly improved as the season progressed.
In a division that seemingly crowns a different winner every season, there are always reasons for optimism when Brees is under center. The Saints appear to have made a great second-round selection in the 2016 NFL draft with Thomas, but they will likely need to spend the offseason addressing some of their defensive woes if they want to sit atop the NFC South in 2017.