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Day 3 and UDFA wide receiver targets for the Saints

Two days down, one to go, no receivers. Could the team make another move back into the draft or are they satisfied with signing a UDFA receiver?

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After the first 106 picks the New Orleans Saints made three picks that should become immediate contributors in all three phases of the game. On day 2 they traded up with the Cleveland Browns for linebacker Zack Braun and then traded all of their day-3 picks (130, 169, 203, 244) for tight end Adam Trautman.

This means they have no picks in rounds 4-7, but it’s the Saints we’re talking about. Managed by Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton. They can’t help themselves when it comes to trading up using future assets if there’s a player available that they believe in. And while this roster is stacked with playmakers, its quite possible that they still have an eye on some more players that may not make it out of the draft into free agency, particularly at wide receiver.

You won’t find any perfect prospects this late, but here are a few receivers that could give them the “itch” to get back into the draft:

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Collin Johnson

6’6” 221 pounds

One of the biggest receivers in the class, Johnson’s best attribute is his large catch radius. He made a living at Texas making contested catches by using his large frame to box-out defenders and long arms to go up and get the ball. But while this is a positive, much of his contested catches came as a result of his inability to consistently create separation due to his lack of long speed and change of direction ability.

Johnson is most effective in the intermediate game but won’t pick up many yards after the catch which limits his potential. Possesses the recognition to find holes in zone coverage and present himself as a target. He best projects as a red zone threat where teams can take advantage of his jump ball skills until he can develop more nuance in his route running.

Tyler Johnson

6’2” 205 pounds

Where the other Johnson fails, Tyler excels in creating separation and is a much more polished route runner. However he lacks the functional strength to consistently beat press coverage and make contested catches. Has fluid hips that helps him create separation off the line of scrimmage but shouldn’t be considered overly shifty, though he once he gets going has adequate long speed to be a decent vertical threat.

Johnson projects to be a slot receiver at the next level until he can develop techniques to beat press coverage. His run after the catch ability coupled with his savvy route running should help him get some snaps early in his career but will most likely never develop into a number one receiver.

Antonio Gandy-Golden

6’4” 233 pounds

Hailing from an FBS program at Liberty University, Gandy-Golden was able to dominate the competition around him. Over the last two seasons he caught 149 passes for 2,421 yards and 20 touchdowns. While the production pops off the page, against NFL level cornerbacks he may have more of a difficult time creating the needed separation to be truly successful there. He has shown a decent ability in using his hands to fight off defenders but doesn’t always play like his size would suggest.

AGG’s route running is solid but lacks the shiftiness and change of direction skills that his stats might suggest and picked up much of that with his ability to high point the ball with his large hands and catch radius. Not someone who will pick up a lot of yards after the catch, though he did break 15 tackles in his collegiate career, AGG has potential to develop into an above average number two option.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Southern Methodist Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

James Proche

5’11” 201 pounds

Proche benefited from playing in SMU’s air raid offense that was able to space the field well. On the smaller side of receivers on this list, he makes his mark with his ball skills and will make catches away from his body with his reliable hands. Speaking of hands, Proche is excellent using them to fight off contact at the top of his routes, which helps negate his lack of twitch to create separation.

Doesn’t have the long speed needed to consistently be a deep threat, but is able to track the ball when it is in the air and get under it to make the catch. Proche is another player who should see most of his work in the slot due to his lack of play strength against press coverage and shouldn’t be expected to be too dangerous after the catch. If the Saints want a sure handed receiver that won’t make many mistakes, Proche may be worth a late round flyer or an UDFA.

Other possible targets

  • Gabriel Davis

6’2” 215

  • Donovan People-Jones

6’2” 212 pounds

  • Isaiah Hodgins

6’4” 210 pounds

  • John Hightower

6’1” 189 pounds

  • Quez Watkins

6’ 185 pounds