The New Orleans Saints have had a world of success with undrafted players at the offensive skill positions. One area that stands out in particular is the wide receiver spot. Lance Moore, an undrafted signee by the Browns in 2005, went on to be one of the best players in Saints franchise history. Willie Snead, Brandon Coleman, and Keith Kirkwood are other undrafted wideouts that have made contributions to the team over the last decade.
The top two receivers for the Saints in 2021 were Deonte Harty and Marquez Callaway. Both players were undrafted. Lil'Jordan Humphrey was another undrafted wideout that saw significant playing time last season.
Despite the abilities of Harty and Callaway, New Orleans struggled to throw the ball. Season-ending injuries to All-Pro WR Michael Thomas and QB Jameis Winston caused the team to finish dead last in passing yardage.
New Orleans used a first-round draft choice on Ohio State WR Chris Olave. He’ll team with Callaway, Harty, and a returning Thomas to give Winston an upgrade in weapons. Another undrafted player could factor into the mix with a strong training camp performance.
DAI'JEAN DIXON, WR
A native of New Orleans, Dixon was a member of Edna Karr High School's Louisiana state championship team. He was a part-time starter as a freshman at Nicholls State in 2017 and was second on the team with 489 receiving yards. In 2018, Dixon had 753 yards and seven touchdowns on a team-high 53 receptions.
Dixon earned 1st Team All-Southland Conference honors in 2019. He averaged 116 yards per game, second in the FCS, totaling 1,044 yards on 54 catches and scoring eight times. Covid moved the following Colonels season to the spring of 2021 and shortened it to seven games. Dixon still pulled in 35 catches for 514 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Granted an extra year of eligibility, Dixon etched his name into the Nicholls State record book. In 2021, he had 71 receptions for 1,002 yards, 8 scores, and was named FCS All-American and 1st Team All-Southland.
His career marks of 236 receptions, 3,802 yards, and 35 touchdowns are first in the school's history and rank among the most in Southland conference history.
Dixon is a physical wideout with great size. He won't beat defenders with speed or athleticism. Lacking the speed to threaten defenses down the field, Dixon must improve his routes to get separation. He tends to round off his breaks and can get hung up on the line against press coverage.
Dixon works between the numbers like a seasoned veteran. He has reliable hands and excellent concentration in traffic. His height, reach, and leaping ability give him the edge on contested throws. Dixon has outstanding catch radius and extends his body to make the reception while absorbing contact.
Once making the catch, Dixon is a physical runner who breaks tackles consistently. He has a long stride that’s difficult to track down in open space. He’s proven himself to be a reliable target on third downs and operates through congested areas well to be a red-zone threat.
The Saints have always preferred bigger receivers. Dai'Jean Dixon fits that profile and plays even bigger than his listed size. He isn't a deep threat, but has value as an outside receiver or big slot in spread formations. Dixon's size and playing style could make him a valuable intermediate target and perhaps make him the most recent undrafted success at wideout.