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Michael Thomas WR Battle One to Watch During Final Weeks of Preseason

Pro Football Focus lists the Michael Thomas WR battle as the 6th most intriguing competitions across the NFL.

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Pro Football Focus listed the Top 10 Most Compelling Roster Battles across the NFL. QB competitions, like those in Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, deservedly appear high on the list, but coming in at #6 was a surprise: New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas vs Willie Snead.

Snead came out of nowhere last season to rack up almost 1,000 yards on fewer than 100 targets, finishing in the top 10 among wide receivers in missed tackles forced and grading positively for an otherwise disappointing Saints team. Snead's reward was the Saints drafting Michael Thomas, who dropped just five of 115 catchable passes last season at Ohio State. He's big (6-foot-3, 203 pounds) and physical, forcing a missed tackle on over 23 percent of his receptions last season.

Make no mistake about it: Michael Thomas is not a threat to Snead's roster spot. Both will make this team. Thomas is, however, a potential threat for targets from Saints QB Drew Brees, making many analysts question Snead's ability to replicate (or even come close) to his 2015 stat line.

Snead has no real advantage over Michael Thomas in any measurable way. Thomas is faster (4.57 40 time vs 4.62), taller (6'3" vs 5'11"), bigger (212 lbs vs 194 lbs), and stronger (with 18 bench press reps at the combine vs Snead's 11). Thomas can run outside the numbers or in the slot and has a history of sure hands. Without trying to crown Thomas as a sure-fire New Orleans Saints Hall of Famer before his first regular season snap, he truly does have all the potential to be Marques Colston in his prime.

Willie Snead, on the other hand, is more similar to Lance Moore - a trusted receiver to make plays when needed. Snead already is familiar with the Saints playbook (that and his ability to play in the return game are the only things Snead brings to the table over Thomas), so I do not expect Thomas to come in and push Willie Snead out of relevance come Week 1. I would, though, not be surprised if by midseason Thomas's targets and offensive statistics begin to surpass Snead moving forward.

For anyone worried about Thomas's potential ability to steal targets away from Brandin Cooks, I would calm down a little bit. Cooks has burner speed (a 4.33 40 at the combine) that Michael Thomas doesn't have.