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What to expect from Saints’ Wideout Michael Thomas this upcoming Season?

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is back in the lineup for the Saints. Thomas signed a one-year deal with the team that drafted him number forty-seven overall in the 2016 NFL draft. Thomas suffered from the injury bug the past few seasons, so what can the Saints expect from the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year?


The two-time first team All-Pro wideout hasn’t been available to suit up much the past two seasons due to lingering ankle injuries. Since undergoing ankle surgery during the 2021 offseason, Thomas played a total of three games over the course of the 2021 and 2022 seasons.


The Young Studs


During the absence of Thomas, rookie wide receivers Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed proved to be formidable pass catchers for the Saints. Olave was drafted number 11 overall by the Saints in the 2022 NFL draft. Olave caught 72 passes for 1,042 yards in his first year.


Shaheed went undrafted during the 2022 NFL draft and didn’t start playing until week 6 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Since then, Shaheed tallied 488 yards and caught 82 percent of his targets.


Now that New Orleans found their franchise quarterback in Derek Carr, perhaps Thomas can get back to garnering prolific numbers similar to his 2019 season.


In 2019, Thomas set an NFL record by catching 149 passes, the most in a single season by a receiver.


Thomas ended his 2019 campaign as a first team-all pro selection, receiving yardage leader and won Offensive Player of the Year. Thomas is one of four wide receivers to win the award in NFL history.


Prediction


Thomas and Carr can potentially be one of the top quarterback-receiver duos in the league. Thomas during his best season in 2019 led the league in catch percentage in slant routes at 87.9 percent.


Thomas’s quick feet and strength give him the advantage to garner leverage on the inside. Even though Thomas is exceptional in running slants, Thomas is strong in running out, post and curl routes.


Carr may not be the most talented quarterback in the league, but he protects the football. Carr has never thrown more than 14 interceptions in a season. Furthermore, Carr went on a four-year stretch(’18-’21) completing at least 67.3 percent of his passes.


Carr posted solid numbers with receivers over the years such as Nelson Agholor, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. A healthy, injury-free Thomas is a step above those guys with all due respect.


If Thomas can stay healthy and with the growth of Olave and Rasheed, expect Thomas and the Saints passing game to be lethal. Thomas is capable of garnering just over 1,000 yards and hovering around seven touchdowns.


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