The New Orleans Saints are looking to add a veteran wide receiver after releasing long-time Saint Marques Colston earlier this offseason.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Saints worked out a group of wide receivers today (May 18) that included Hakeem Nicks, Denarius Moore, and Vincent Brown.
Nicks has spent six of his seven NFL seasons with the New York Giants, which includes the final six games with the G-Men last season after getting cut by the Tennessee Titans. The 28-year-old hauled in seven passes for 54 yards with New York last season – he was targeted 14 times.
Nicks’ best seasons came in 2010 and 2011. The former first round caught a combined 155 passes for 2,244 yards and 18 touchdowns in those two years. Since then, his production has slowly declined, though he had been relatively productive until last year. Nicks has 356 career receptions for 5,081 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Moore, a 2011 round draft selection of the Oakland Raiders, has not caught a regular season pass since 2014. He appeared in six games for the Buffalo Bills last season before being released in late November. The 27-year-old speedster returned five punts for 77 yards and five kickoffs for a total of 70 yards for the Bills.
Moore has 142 career receptions for 2,169 yards and 17 touchdowns along with 480 return yards for a total of 2,679 all-purpose yards. His best season came in 2012 when he caught 51 passes for 741 yards and seven touchdowns.
Brown has been relatively unproductive in his five years in the NFL. The former third-round pick of the San Diego Chargers has 13 receptions in eight games for the Raiders and Chargers the past two seasons. He has 73 career receptions for 941 yards and three touchdowns. The 27-year-old’s best season came in 2013 when he had 41 catches for 472 yards.
New Orleans finished first in the NFL with 310.6 passing yards but do not have a wide receiver currently on its roster over the age of 24 – Reggie Bell, the team’s oldest wide receiver, has one year of NFL experience and has no pass receptions.
Brandin Cooks, 22, led the Saints with 84 catches and was the only player on the team to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. The Saints’ 2014 first round draft pick had at least three catches in all 16 games last year, including 10 receptions for 124 yards against the Detroit Lions in Week 15. Cooks totaled nine touchdowns and had 18-20+ yard receptions.
Willie Snead, 23, also had a breakout season for New Orleans. The 2014 undrafted free agent, out of Ball State, caught 69 passes for 984 yards along with three touchdowns. He has also spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers though he did not appear in a regular season game for either team.
Brandon Coleman, who went undrafted out Rutgers, is the only other receiver currently on the roster to record at least 30 catches last season. The 23-year-old totaled 30 receptions, with nine coming in the final two weeks, for 454 yards and two touchdowns.
In addition to not having Colston – the franchise’s all-time leader in several receiving categories –, quarterback Drew Brees also won’t have tight end Benjamin Watson this season. Watson, who signed with Baltimore as a free agent, finished second on the team with 74 receptions and Colston was fourth with 42 catches. New Orleans did select wide receiver Michael Thomas (Ohio State) in the second round of this year’s draft and still has running backs Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, both of whom are effective pass catchers out of the backfield.
According to The Advocate, Nathan Palmer was also part of the group of receivers to work out for the Saints. Palmer, who went undrafted in 2012, has been on the practice squad of several teams as well as the 53-man roster of the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. The 27-year-old has one career receptions for negative-four yards.
The Saints didn’t have a great offseason according to ESPN, which gave New Orleans a D+. New Orleans, which just ended up with five draft picks, did improve its interior pass rush with the free agent signing of defensive tackle Nick Fairly and first round selection of Sheldon Rankins.
In other news, the Saints signed fourth-round pick David Onyemata. Onneymat, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle, played college football at Manitoba College in Winnipeg, Canada.
[Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Associated Press]