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The Case for the Underdog: Why the Saints Should Draft DeAndre Reaves

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It’s clear the Saints need to make a change, but one area that isn’t talked about is special teams. What player can provide that spark? The answer is simple: DeAndre Reaves.

Could Reaves Be the Answer the New Orleans' Special Teams' Woes?
Could Reaves Be the Answer the New Orleans' Special Teams' Woes?
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is right around the corner and with it comes the potential promise to fan bases that their respective team can find the answer to said team’s problems, the guy who can turn it all around. We all know that’s not usually how it goes down, as it takes more than just one man to turn it around most times, and the Saints need more than just one man to fix all the issues they have.

It’s obvious. The Saints need a lot of help. Fans and analysts alike recognize it and we can only hope the front office recognizes it as well and deals with those issues accordingly. But, one issue that isn’t talked about as much as it should be is special teams

That’s right, special teams. More specifically, the return game.

It may seem like a useless part of the game to some, but it’s wildly important, make no mistake about it. And it’s an area the Saints don’t exactly excel in, to say the least. Since 2013, the Saints have scored all of 1 return TD on kicks and punts combined. Not just that, but New Orleans logged only 605 kickoff return yards as a team last year. Those stats are not only alarming, but those don’t get the job done. Any NFL coaching staff will tell you, a great return game can take a lot of pressure off your offense by setting you up with choice field position., something the Saints need dearly.

I write all of this to say, there is one player in this year’s draft that can turn those issues right around. His name? DeAndre Reaves.

I’ll start by saying I forgive you if you aren’t quite sure who that is. It’s understandable. The guy is coming from Marshall, Conference-USA school who doesn’t get a whole lot of national press. But, don’t be mistaken, Reaves is as electric of a player as any in this year’s draft, someone who can wow the fans on the special teams’ side.

Much like Brandin Cooks, Reaves is a dynamic, speedy player. While he’s listed as a WR on any roster you’ll look at, don’t be fooled, he is a special teams’ specialist. In 3 years at Marshall, Reaves amassed 2,548 kickoff return yards to go with 3 touchdowns, as well as 255 punt return yards (204 in one season) along with a touchdown. But, most importantly, he stays healthy. In his whole career, he never missed a single game. Aren’t sold by his stats? Take a look at the highlights. They speak for themselves.

He’s quick. He’s shifty. He can make you miss. His vision is amazing. He’s exciting. He’s everything you could ask for in a return man. The Saints haven’t had an electrifying return man since the days of Reggie Bush, and while Cooks is a great player, the Saints need him as a dynamic player on the offensive side of the ball. They need a player who can be their go-to guy on special teams. It isn’t even about the touchdowns, it’s about the yards. The Saints need a way to help take pressure off their offense. A consistent return game is one way to do just that.

I don’t think you trade up in the draft to grab this guy or take him in the first three rounds, but, if he’s there in the 4th round or later, you’d be crazy not to grab him. I’ve seen the guy play in person. He’s the real deal. And he could be just what the Saints need to be well on their way to getting back to the Saints of days past.