This year's story at the wide receiver position compared to last seasons is just about as night and day as you can get. With the core being strengthened by the additions of Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry, along with the resurrection of All-Pro Michael Thomas after missing much of the last two seasons, it has made the position a very difficult spot to make this team for a certain training camp/preseason star.
Louisiana native Kirk Merritt has been one of the more electric newcomers over the course of this summer, stringing along many great practices to go along with a couple big kick returns in last week's preseason matchup against Green Bay. Merritt might have made the team already if this were the 2021 New Orleans Saints, but it’s quite unlikely that he’s one of the team's top six receivers due to the new and improved depth.
Earlier in the week, it was reported that Merritt would be getting some work at the running back position, a spot that has some big question marks behind Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. This action by the team quite honestly shows that the coaching staff is pushing for Merritt to make this roster and that they think highly of the hometown product. His ability alone as a receiver and return man could provide an added dimension at the position which could allow for some creativity on offense. Before the team made plans to have Merritt take some reps out of the backfield, watching him return the kicks versus Green Bay actually reminded me a lot of Deebo Samuel. They’re both very similar in stature (an inch and two pounds apart) and are very explosive athletes. Not to say Merritt will be the next Deebo Samuel but this could very well be the team's vision for Merritt if he can prove himself in this hybrid role the next few weeks.