Bleacher Report recently ranked every NFL starting QB’s supporting cast, including the Wide Receiver corps, pass-catching Tight End(s), and Running Backs. The New Orleans Saints came in exactly middle of the pack at 16th overall:
This year, after the Saints jettisoned 23-year-old, two-time 1,100-yard receiver Brandin Cooks to the Patriots in an offseason trade, they again look less than impressive at the non-quarterback skill positions. But the key is that they remain deep, and you know Brees will get the most out of every cog in the machine.
It certainly feels as though Brees will help turn new No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas into a star in 2017. The 2016 second-round pick caught a ridiculous 76 percent of the passes thrown his way for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie, and even without Cooks he's well supported by new arrival Ted Ginn (a deep threat coming off back-to-back 700-yard seasons in which he scored a combined 14 touchdowns in Carolina) and slot specialist Willie Snead (coming off back-to-back 800-yard seasons to start his career). Tight end Coby Fleener and projected No. 4 receiver Brandon Coleman are also solid.
It’s hard to argue that Drew Brees helps bring out the best in his receivers. Look at receivers who were productive in a Drew Brees-led Saints offense, and compare that to their success elsewhere. Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, even Jimmy Graham, all never replicated their New Orleans success with another passer.
The Saints came one spot ahead of the Carolina Panthers, who just added RB Christian McCaffrey and WR Curtis Samuel to RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Kelvin Benjamin and TE Greg Olsen. The other two teams in the NFC South, the Bucs and Falcons, came well ahead of the Saints at 5th and 2nd overall respectively.
Fortunately, while the supporting casts for teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and others might arguably be better than the Saints, it helps that the Saints have one of the top Quarterbacks in the NFL throwing them the ball.