Gearing up for the start of the 2017 regular season, Pro Football Focus named one “Secret Superstar” for each of the 32 NFL teams. It would obviously be too easy to simply say “Drew Brees da GOAT” and leave it at that, but the purpose was to find one lesser-known statistic supporting a lower-tiered player to be named in this piece. For the Saints, it was WR Willie Snead.
2016 snaps: 744
Key stat: Caught 75.0 percent of passes thrown his way, the 14th-best mark among WRs leaguewide.
Snead may be stretching the definition of secret, but such are the options on the New Orleans roster. Snead is a solid slot weapon for the Saints, who has reliable hands but can also flash ability after the catch, forcing 10 missed tackles once he caught the ball and averaging 5.4 yards after the catch.
It’s hard to argue that Snead has elite hands. Beyond that, Snead is adept at finding the sticks for crucial catches when it matters. Among eligible WRs with 100+ targets in 2016, Snead ranked 5th in “Success Rate,” meaning catches for “successful” plays of either a first down or touchdown (per SharpFootballStats.com).
And look at this great chart from Rotoword. Snead is an incredibly versatile route-runner:
For as much love and attention that former Saints WR Lance Moore received in New Orleans (and rightfully so), Snead looks to fit into the same mold of a wideout lacking in elite size/speed but who can still have a long and productive career in the NFL. In fact, Snead has all the making to be an all-around better WR than the Saints ever had in Lance Moore.
We can only hope.