The New Orleans Saints had one of the best trios of young wide receivers in the league with Michael Thomas, Brandin Cooks, and Willie Snead. That changed on March 10th, when the Saints dealt the rocket-fast Cooks to New England in exchange for the 32nd overall draft pick and a swap of 3rd and 4th round selections.
New Orleans did add Ted Ginn Jr. to compete with Brandon Coleman, Tommylee Lewis, and Jordan Williams-Lambert for targets behind Thomas and Snead. While the Saints offense is going to continue to be an elite unit, we should expect Sean Payton to add skill position players to Drew Brees' arsenal.
Meet wide receiver Stacy Coley from the Miami Hurricanes.
Once upon a time, the NFL landscape was littered with players from this powerhouse collegiate program. The Hurricanes program populated nearly every team, at every position. The program has been in a rebuilding mode for the last handful of years now, but will most likely produce anywhere from 4-6 drafted players this spring. Coley, a highly talented fourth-year senior from "The U" is a wideout that is projected to be picked anywhere from the 3rd round to late in the draft.
Coley's numbers at the NFL combine didn't exactly jump off the chart. His 4.45 second 40-yard dash was the only activity that put him among the top 12 performances among wideouts. He did perform well at Miami's pro day on March 29th; running smooth routes, catching the ball well, and running a 4.39 40-yard dash.
Coley is a bit small-framed for a receiver at 6-foot, 195-lbs, but was still a good red zone threat throughout his college career. He has the athletic ability to compete on fade routes and runs an extremely sharp slant pattern. He gets into his inside breaks fast, and is terrific with the ball in the open field. Miami loved throwing wide receiver screens to Coley, because of his shifty running style, good field vision, and explosive burst in the open field.
Because of his game-breaking ability, Coley did not face a great deal of press coverage during his career, so he needs some work getting off the line of scrimmage at times. He has great body control on downfield routes, although he has struggled at times tracking down the football.
Some of Coley's critics have questioned his passion for the game, but film study shows a much different player. Although he needs to refine his technique, Coley is a willing and aggressive downfield blocker. He fights for every football thrown his direction, and plays the game with an edge that endears him to teammates.
Be warned, highlight video contains language that may be deemed NSFW.
- NFL.com comparison = Chris Harper (49ers)
- The draftster.com comparison = Steve Smith Jr/Ted Ginn (Saints)
- Draft Profile
Opinions on Stacy Coley are all over the place. He looks to be a feisty, potentially game-breaking wideout whose fundamentals could benefit greatly working with precise technicians like Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Willie Snead. Coley could flourish as a slot receiver, where his outstanding field vision and explosive second gear would give opposing defenses match up nightmares.
The majority of wideouts that have played for the Saints during the Payton-Brees era have been drafted or developed within the New Orleans system. We should expect the team to add an additional playmaker to their stable of weapons at some point in the second or third days of the draft.