New Orleans Saints' Roster Top 25 Players: No. 22, Ben Watson

Ben Watson is not only patriotic, but athletic enough to create match up problems for defenses. - Matt Sullivan

Free agent acquisition Ben Watson will add to an already potent offense and ranks 22nd on my list of the top 25 Saints' players.

When the Saints signed Ben Watson this off-season it didn't make headlines, and maybe rightfully so. The Saints have a tight end in Jimmy Graham that you can build an offense around so they didn't bring in Watson with the expectation of him catching 80 balls. That said, I believe the Saints intend on having Watson play a significant role in the offense, enough so for me to tank him No. 22 on my list of the top 25 Saints' players of 2013.

In 2012 Watson had the misfortune of being on a Cleveland Brown's offense that didn't perform well, to put it lightly. His numbers didn't stand out, but you can't blame him since he had Brandon Weeden throwing him the ball. In the past, Watson had a reputation of dropping passes and inconsistent play despite freakish athleticism. Last year, however, Watson actually had pretty damn good hands. In 2012 Watson had 52 catchable balls and caught 49 of them, resulting in a drop rate of just 5.77. To put that in perspective, here's a table of how that compares the drop rates of several big name tight ends:

Catchable Drops Drop Rate
Ben Watson 52 49 5.77
Jason Witten 118 110 6.78
Vernon Davis 44 41 6.82
Rob Gronkowski 62 55 11.29
Graham 12 100 85 15
Graham 11 104 98 5.77

(Obviously Graham's drop rate in 2012 was inflated because of his wrist injury, but it's interesting that his 2011 drop rate was the exact same as Watson's 2012 rate. Stats acquired from Pro Football Focus's Signature Stats).

In 2011 the Saints had arguably the best set of receivers in the league to power their record-setting offense. Despite a bevy of young WR talent on this year's team, the receiving corps isn't as polished it once was now that Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson are gone. Ben Watson's combination of size and speed can still be a match up nightmare for defenders, and you know Drew Brees will find him when there's a mismatch. I'm not saying Watson will surpass 700 yards and a half dozen touchdowns, but I do believe he will be a very positive addition to the offense. Graham will put up the big numbers, but I expect Watson to make some big plays here and there, block adequately, and attract enough defensive attention to free up Graham, Marques Colston and the bunch.

Time's Picayune's No. 22 - Zach Strief

Canal Street Chronicles Top 25 Saints Players:

No. 25 - Isa Abdul-Quddus

No. 24 - Patrick Robinson

No. 23 - Jonathan Vilma

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