Marquez Callaway is making the most of rough Saints WR situation

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Ask anyone who’s been to New Orleans Saints training camp (or who tuned in for the opening minutes of New Orleans’ first preseason game) about who has been exciting, and you’ll hear a lot of buzz about Marquez Callaway. The second-year pro out of Tennessee has been a consistent target over the summer, and that came to a head with 3 receptions for 61 receiving yards against Baltimore Ravens starting cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. He separates rapidly, fights for his targets, and gets moving after the catch quickly.

Some of that opportunity is happenstance. Michael Thomas is unavailable while recovering from surgery. Tre’Quan Smith and Tommylee Lewis have been unavailable while managing undisclosed injuries. Even Ty Montgomery missed time with an injury scare. And while Deonte Harris has built a lot of momentum in training camp, that’s expected to be spiked by a two-game suspension. Callaway is quite literally the last man standing.

But let’s not undersell what Callaway has accomplished to get here. He only made the team last season for his efforts as a gunner on the punt coverage unit, which separated him from his competition like Austin Carr and Juwan Johnson (who later returned to the practice squad). And even then, Bennie Fowler was activated for the 2020 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers instead of him. He saw nearly as many snaps on special teams (14) as he did on offense (15) in his first two games.

He earned this opportunity the hard way. Expectations were high already (maybe, at the time, too high) but he’s done everything to put himself in a position to succeed this year. If the early returns are anything to go by, he could be a galvanizing presence. At the risk of coming off too much like Ted Lasso, Callaway could be a reliable lighthouse in a sea of turmoil in the receiving corps. Until someone shows us otherwise, he’s the guy to lean on — and the Saints receiver to pick in your fantasy drafts. I know I’m sold after watching him make beating a couple of All-Pro corners look easy.

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