Maybe you'll recall the expert community's excitement over his performance at the '07 combine, or perhaps you'll remember our enthusiasm for his 129-yard effort in the preseason opener last year. We were bullish to say the least.
But Meachem was shelved in his rookie season with the Saints, slowed by a knee issue that required surgery and left him hopelessly behind. In 2008, he caught nearly as many passes in four exhibition games (10) as he did in the regular season (12).
Entering 2009, even the most hardcore third-year receiver fetishists are buying Massaquoi and selling Meachem. It's tough to build a convincing case based on anything other than the usual propaganda – "Meachem gaining confidence," "Meachem: Big Game Friday," "Brees predicting a big year for Meachem" – and the August highlights. (Follow the link, scroll down for the 64-yard TD). You've heard that song before.
As New Orleans wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson puts it, "He better do something. We paid him two years."
Here's Meachem's response via the AP: "This year they’re going to get to see a first-round draft pick."
If he's right – and that's a huge, oft-repeated if – then Meachem will be a terrific value. His Mock Draft Central ADP is 206.9, so there's very little risk involved. The Saints were the NFL's highest scoring team last year (28.9 points per game) and they gained more yards through the air than any other squad (316.8 Y/G). That offense is capable of supporting multiple roster-worthy receivers. We don't recommend many No. 3/4 wideouts, but New Orleans is the exception to all sorts of rules.
Still, there's no hard sell on Meachem in '09. We're simply duty-bound to report his continued presence and his total dominance in the exhibition season. As a final round flier, he's a tradition worth maintaining.
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