Wide receiver Devery Henderson has had a good football career and has earned many fans in Louisiana. After catching 76 passes for 1,308 yards and 19 touchdowns in his final two seasons at LSU, Henderson joined the New Orleans Saints in 2004. It took him a few years to adjust to the professional level, but he has now appeared in every Saints game since the start of the 2007 season.
Although he has never reached 1,000 receiving yards in a season and has caught more than 50 passes only once, Henderson is a valuable weapon in the Saints' offensive attack. Now, however, he is entering the final year of his contract, and it will be interesting to see if he is a bigger part of the offense in 2012.
Henderson's best season with the Saints came in 2009, when he caught 51 passes and collected 804 yards. Last season, he was sixth on the team with 503 receiving yards. Gone in 2012, though, is Robert Meachem and the 40 catches for 620 yards he produced in 2011. Rookie Nick Toon should see some time, and Adrian Arrington may finally get a chance to prove himself. Then, of course, there are Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore and Darren Sproles all vying for the attention of quarterback Drew Brees.
The Saints have so many receiving options that it is difficult to predict a major boost in performance by Henderson. But if he proves he can catch the long pass consistently, he could really help Brees stretch the field quickly. The ability of Colston, Graham, Sproles and Moore to find open spots for shorter passes should give Henderson single coverage on many plays.
As a fan of LSU and the Saints, I have seen Henderson's ability to score on big plays. His career 18.2 yards per reception is the best in franchise history among players who have played at least 50 games. I would like to see Henderson be the main deep threat on the team this year and be able to earn another contract to stay with the Saints.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.