Thomas, a second round pick out of Ohio State, produced the best season by a wideout since Marques Colston in 2006. The sure-handed receiver finished the season with 92 receptions, 1,137 yards, and 9 touchdowns. He also broke the Saints all-time rookie receiving records for receptions, yards, and touchdowns in the process.
Lutz, an undrafted rookie out of Georgia State, also broke an all-time Saints rookie record previously held by the great Tom Dempsey (22 made field goals) by making 28 out of 34 attempts on the year. It’s important to note that four of Lutz’ six misses came from beyond 50 yards, including a 61-yard attempt against the Raiders.
Though many began to doubt Lutz’ ability to play at the next level when several of his field goals and point after attempts were blocked early in the season, Lutz finished the year strong by making 13 straight field goals. Following Lutz’ early struggles with low trajectory kicks, Sean Payton brought in special teams assistant Kevin O’Dea to fix the unit’s issues with the snap, hold, and kick. The positive results were instant and consistent as Lutz was selected as the best rookie kicker in the league.
Finally, the Saints have found a quality kicker with youth and a big leg. The seemingly endless kicker carousel quite possibly has come to an end. And they have definitely found a worthy heir apparent to Colston as well. The future looks bright for both of these players.