Deonte Harty is much more than just a return guy, and he showed that in a small-ish sample size this past season.
Despite dealing with poor QB play for most of the year and sustaining a hiccup from a 3-game suspension for a DUI in Weeks 14-16, Harty managed to rack up 570 receiving yards and three TDs on the season.
But what is most impressive about his year has nothing to do with the counting stats – it’s how effective he was with a relatively small number of touches.
Out of 104 qualifying receivers in PFF’s database this season, he was in the top 10 of three major categories.
-10th in yards per reception (15.8)
-6th in yards after catch per reception (6.8)
-5th in yards per route run (2.69)
He also was fifth in overall PFF grade out of this group, with an 87.8 grade.
The most impressive stat out of those to me is the 2.69 yards per route run. The four names who were above him in this category in order were Antonio Brown, Davante Adams, Deebo Samuel and Cooper Kupp.
So, on a per-route-run basis, he was just as effective when targeted as some of the best receivers in the NFL, which is crazy to think about. And that doesn’t even take into account that the quarterbacks throwing him the ball are all worse than the QBs throwing the aforementioned receivers passes.
With Sean Payton gone and Pete Carmichael now the expected play-caller for the New Orleans Saints offense, it will be interesting if the usage of Harty changes on a per-play basis next year. He’s had a limited route tree that mostly includes deep shots and comeback routes, but it seems like he’s capable of more.
He’s a restricted free agent and based on his progression throughout his young career thus far, I’d be shocked to see the Saints let him get out of the building.
I am personally looking forward to seeing what he can do on the field with a solid, healthy quarterback in a 17-game season next year, and with more consistent opportunities to get the ball in his hands.
What do you think of Deonte Harty? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @AndrewBell_98.