The New Orleans Saints entered the 2012 preseason with an abundance of talent at the wide receiver position. Unfortunately, injuries have now depleted the depth there, leading the team to sign veteran receiver Greg Camarillo.
A few weeks ago, no one could have predicted a need at wide receiver. Despite losing Robert Meachem as a free agent, the team still has Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson as quality starters. Behind these three, however, New Orleans has seen a number of injuries. Rookie Nick Toon has an injured foot, while Adrian Arrington's injured knee has kept him out of preseason action. Andy Tanner had two great preseason games before hurting his ankle. This leaves Joe Morgan and return specialist Courtney Roby to get most of the reps with the reserves while the injured players heal.
Morgan has played well, catching seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Roby has been even more of a surprise, grabbing 10 receptions and 146 yards. As a Saints fan, I am excited about the possibility of Toon making his debut soon, and I also like what I saw from Tanner this preseason (eight catches, 120 yards).
Still, the Camarillo signing is a great move. It adds veteran presence to help push the younger players who are vying for roster spots, depth chart positions and playing time. In his last two seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2008-09), Camarillo caught 105 passes and gained 1,165 yards. Although he mostly played special teams with the Minnesota Vikings the past two years, he is a proven receiver. If pressed into action, as a member of the Saints offense, it is possible that Camarillo could replace much of Meachem's production.
I hope to see Toon playing this week and would enjoy seeing guys like Morgan, Tanner and Arrington contribute. However, if health is a concern, the Saints will do whatever is needed to get quality football players on the field. Camarillo may not be on the roster when the regular season begins, but for now he provides key insurance and buys time for other players to heal.
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.