Willie Snead is about to have the biggest opportunity of his career in 2017. Snead comes in looking to build off of a successful 2016 season which was the best of his young career. The Saints traded Brandin Cooks to the Patriots, which allows Snead to carve out a bigger role his third season playing in the NFL. Although Ted Ginn was added as a free agent to join stud standout sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas, Snead expects to feast as a number two option for HOF quarterback Drew Brees. Snead has said that he believes in the third-year receiver theory, meaning that the third season for wideouts is typically the season when things really come to fruition for receivers. Some of the best receivers in the NFL, past and present, have had breakout years in their third season, including Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Cris Carter, Terrell Owens and Keyshawn Johnson.
Throughout his career on the Saints Snead has done his dirty work from the slot and he did have a very solid under-the-radar season last year. He provides quarterback Drew Brees with a solid security-blanket receiver that he can trust from the slot. Snead’s 56 receptions out of the slot tied for seventh among slot receivers, but his 707 yards ranked fourth. This shows the damage he can do when he is put in space. his precise route running allows him to be effective. In my opinion, Snead is the best slot receiver in the game today and this is due to his detailed route running, unique blend of speed, size, and quickness. He averaged .89 yards per route run, as well, and his catch rate of 74.7 percent ranked sixth in the NFL. He did drop four passes last year, which led to a below-average 6.67 percent drop rate, but the drops don’t mean much considering that many players are effective even with a few drops. With the loss of WR Brandin Cooks from the offense, Snead has the chance to have a breakout season this year alongside star Michael Thomas and speedster Ted Ginn Jr.
Bonus Fact: If Willie Snead plays well the Saints will have to shell out a hefty contract to a player that would come a little cheaper this offseason. They need to sign the man and get it done before he plays himself out of the NOLA next year as we have many more contracts to redo next year.
My prediction for Willie Snead: 114 targets, 81 catches, 1056 yards, 6 touchdowns