The New Orleans Saints find their receiving corps in flux this coming season. Gone are favorites Kenny Stills and Lance Moore. Top wideout Marques Colston is another year older, while first round star Brandin Cooks missed much of his rookie season. Enigmatic Nick Toon has yet to show consistency on the field, and Joseph Morgan has climbed back on his carousel ride on the Saints roster. Throw in return specialist Jalen Saunders and journeyman Josh Morgan, and the Saints receiving corps has more question marks than explanation points for the first time in years.
The two true remaining spots at receiver are held by two men who have recently shown flashes of brilliance early in the Saints' organized team activities (or OTAs). We are discussing those two men this weekend, Brandon Coleman, who we discussed yesterday, and today's profile, Seantavius Jones. Today, we conclude with Jones, how he came to New Orleans, and what to expect from him in 2015.
Seantavius Jones enters his second season with the Saints after spending his rookie season on the practice squad. Jones was picked-up as an undrafted free agent out of Division II Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. He was added to the roster, but inactive, following the December 9th release of Joe Morgan in 2014. The 6'3", 200 lb wideout has some impressive measureables, and should benefit from another year learning Sean Payton's offense.
Here was Jones' draft profile as compiled by NFL.com:
2013: First-team all-Gulf South selection. Set a school record with six touchdown receptions against Delta State. 2012: First-team All-Gulf South selection. Started in 14 games and had 13 touchdown receptions (good for sixth most in school history). 2011: Second-team All-Gulf South selection after starting in all 10 games. 2010: Played in all 11 games.
STRENGTHSGood size and length with room for added bulk. Tracks, adjusts and plucks. Competes in the air and can run under the ball when he has a step. Football smart. Productive three-year starter for a top Division II team -- 26 TDs the last two seasons. Very solid pro day, posting a 38 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 6.96-second three-cone drill-time.
WEAKNESSESNeeds to bulk up and get stronger. Limited physicality for his size. Vulnerable to the jam. Shaky hands (too many drops). Tight through the hips. Movement is somewhat mechanical and will struggle to create separation vs. man coverage. Builds to average speed. Should be a better blocker.
DRAFT PROJECTIONRound 7-Priority free agent
BOTTOM LINEUnsudden, West Coast possession target who will have to prove he can consistently separate versus better competition.
Jones definitely has upside, and seemed to be a big fish in a small pond in college. As we are aware though, the Saints don not shy away from "small school guys" and have seen some great success with those players.
Here is some of the word out on Jones during the recent OTAs:
Saints WR Brandin Cooks likes what he's seeing from Brandon Coleman, Seantavius Jones: Video http://t.co/VH7u2bxYwh— Larry Holder (@LarryHolder) June 5, 2015
Ultimately, Jones is not only batting the Saints' incumbent wide receivers for a roster spot, but he is also battling yesterday's profile, and his friend, Brandon Coleman, as well as this years UDFA receivers in R.J. Harris and Kyle Prater. Competition will be fierce, but Jones appears up to the challenge. His pushing himself for a spot will also push his competition for that spot as well, and that also benefits the team.
Jones, despite his height, has a slender frame, but still he has reportedly made some head-turning catches in OTAs, not only against depth cornerbacks like Kyle Wilson, but against top corner Keenan Lewis. This is encouraging for a player that the Saints organization and head coach Sean Payton seem high on. Payton has linked both Seantavius Jones and Brandon Coleman while talking them up to the media during OTAs over the past few weeks.
There is definitely something there that Payton likes, which is why somewhat surprisingly, the Saints did not select a wide receiver in the 2015 Draft. The opportunity is right there in front of Jones, and we will have to see if he has the intangibles to take advantage of it.
I'm not quite sure Jones will ultimately make the Saints roster in 2015, but he will certainly be a part of the Saints if only on the practice squad, considering Payton's affinity for him. He will be easy to root for, as his success only benefits the team and makes his teammates, and roster competition, better.