As summer seems to get hotter and hotter and we get down to only baseball on TV, there’s only one thing to do to keep our interest – answer questions and give our thoughts about the Saints heading into training camp.
We’ll run out one question a day in a hope that we satiate your thirst until actual toe meets leather. The questions are in no particular order of importance…except for No. 1.
12. Will Marques Colston finally get a Pro Bowl berth?
Marques Colston came into the NFL in the seventh round of the 2006 draft.
Ever since, he has been one of the NFL’s most underrated and undervalued players.
Amazingly, the Saints’ No.1 wide receiver has never been voted to a Pro Bowl or earned All Pro honors.
The past three seasons he has gotten better and better and, while 2011 wasn’t a career-best year statistically, it might have been his best year all around.
Colston finished with 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns on 80 catches despite missing two games with a broken collarbone. He picked up another touchdown and 256 yards on 16 catches in the postseason.
And he did by being the most sure-handed receiver in the NFL, catching 77.4 percent of the passes that came his way.
He was the No. 4 rated receiver among players who saw at least 60 percent of his team’s offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, finishing with a 21.2 rating for all games.
In 2011, he had only three dropped passes. But that number was much lower than the previous two seasons, when he dropped 10 and 11 passes, respectively.
His 80 catches were 12th-most in the NFL, his 1,143 regular season yards were 14th-most and his 23 third-down catches were tied for ninth-most in the NFL in 2011.
Certainly Colston has his fair share of outstanding receivers to battle with for a Pro Bowl berth.
Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, Carolina’s Steve Smith, Green Bay’s Greg Jennings and Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald all were last season’s NFC Pro Bowl players along with Atlanta’s Roddy White, who was a replacement.
But the argument can be made that none of those players save for Jennings play in an offense with so many other options.
Colston is a No. 1 receiver for almost every other team and his numbers would be greater with another team. In New Orleans, he has had to contend for passes with running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas; receivers Lance Moore, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson; and tight end Jimmy Graham, one of the most-prolific young players to come into the game in recent memory.
And he still caught 80 passes for 1,100-plus yards.
Unfortunately the Pro Bowl is still about being a name player and popularity. Colston doesn’t stand out and is one of the quietest, most humble players you’ll meet.
We can see this being the year, though, that he breaks out. But we’re not promising anything.
--Bradley Handwerger, WWLTV.com Sports Reporter