WR Marquez Callaway, is he the final piece to Saints Receiver Puzzle?

New Orleans signed Tennessee's WR Marquez Callaway to an UDFA contract after the 2020 NFL Draft.  Could he be the final piece to the Saints 3rd WR puzzle?
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UPDATE (9/6/2020):  Marquez Callaway earned a spot on the New Orleans Saints roster for 2020.  The undrafted free agent out of Tennessee will join receivers Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre'Quan Smith, and Deonte Harris as the team's targets for QB Drew Brees.

Saints News Network's Kyle T. Mosley, asked head coach Sean Payton about Marquez Callaway's progress during a media call at Saints Training Camp.

WATCH:  SEAN PAYTON ON MARQUEZ CALLAWAY

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Original article on Marquez Callaway

The New Orleans Saints are building a talent-rich roster this offseason in order to make a run for Super Bowl 55 in Tampa, FL on Sunday, February 7, 2021.  Former University of Tennessee's WR Marquez Callaway is one of the UDFA rookies eager to gain a roster spot and enhance the Saints’ receiving corps.  Asst. GM Jeff Ireland and his scouts noticed he was still available before the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft.  GM Mickey Loomis quickly signed Callaway to an NFL contract.  Callaway is primed for battle this summer in Saints Training Camp for an opportunity to become an NFL wide receiver. 

Callaway excelled on both offense and defense at Robins High School in Georgia and was a top national recruit. He comes from a family with deep roots in the military. His parents, grandmother, and uncle were veterans and his brother is serving in Korea. Tennessee was not Callaway’s first offer in the recruiting process. Georgia and Ole Miss were options, but he found a home in Tennessee. 

Like his former Tennessee teammate Alvin Kamara, the Saints may be an ideal fit for Marquez.  Callaway echoed the sentiment during a video press conference:

Callaway has excellent kick return skills, superb leaping, and excellent speed for his size. Also, he can be a vertical threat for Drew Brees.  He can adjust and track the deep ball well, has a long smooth stride, and good acceleration which is impressive.  While he has limited experience running full route tree, his breaks look sluggish.   

Coach Sean Payton loves players that can play multiple positions. Callaway is a good punt and kickoff return man and he has good pull away Speed. He will need some refinement with route-running skills and the ability to come out of his cuts and breaks quicker, but those skills will improve with time. 

NFL Scouting Combine Statistics 

  • 40-Yd dash = 4.55 
  • Vertical jump = 38” 
  • Broad jump = 126” 

Strengths 

  • Adequate size/speed as an outside receiver 
  • Agility and foot quickness to stem and slide past press 
  • Vertical glider who can eat into cushions 
  • Hands are sudden and soft
  • Makes challenging mid-air adjustments to catch
  • Dangerous punt returner with three career touchdowns 

Weaknesses 

  • Too many feasts-or-famine box scores 
  • Needs to play faster and do less coasting 
  • Route-running does not manipulate the coverage 
  • Not enough speed variance to separate on intermediate routes 

*Strengths and Weaknesses from NFL.com

The Saints has an impressive track record with undrafted free agents while under HC Sean Payton.  New Orleans Saints Hall of Famers Lance Moore and Pierre Thomas were both undrafted players.  They made significant contributions as Saints players in one of the most successful eras in New Orleans Saints history. Marquez Callaway and the other 12 undrafted rookies for the Saints have an excellent chance of earning a roster spot . With an armory of elite players for New Orleans, could Marquez Callaway be the last piece of the puzzle in the Saints wide receiving corps?  We will see this August in Saints Training Camp.