Film study: Emmanuel Sanders gives Saints everything they didn’t have

The one route that stood out the most might have been the easiest to overlook.

The play came during Week 1 against the Raiders and only gained four yards. Any study of any other player joining any other team and you might scroll right by it, looking for something spicier to present as an example of excellence. But this is Emmanuel Sanders joining the Saints. And, well, the way he ran this curl was so damn exciting in this context that it still stood out after watching all 97 of Sanders' targets from last season.

See, the thing is, the Saints don't have another wide receiver who could run this route. Not with this kind of patience. Not with this kind of precision. Not with this kind of foresight. Everyone else would have taken off at the snap and collided with the defensive back lined up in Sanders' path. But he didn't because he plays with fluidity and sees the field. He's smart and savvy, where others are often robotic and mechanical. So, in this one moment, the one that moved the ball 12 feet up the field, you could see everything Sanders will bring to New Orleans. He's precise, but he isn't a prisoner to the playbook. He's everything the Saints didn't have behind Michael Thomas.

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