As the NFL world awaits the start of training camp, it is an opportune time to study some history of franchises. The New Orleans Saints have had many players come and go during the Sean Payton era. Everyone knows names like Drew Brees, Deuce McAllister, and Jonathan Vilma. There were also many players who contributed to the recent Saints success that do not get the talk that they might warrant. Let’s take a look at one of the Saints players who was a big play waiting to happen. Wide receiver Devery Henderson is an underrated Saints player who contributed in many ways that some might not recall.
Remembering Devery Henderson’s Career
Devery Henderson was a second-round draft pick out of LSU in the 2004 NFL Draft. This was before the Drew Brees and Sean Payton era began in New Orleans. Henderson did not contribute to the team in his rookie year but did catch 22 passes in his second. Once Brees and Payton took over, Henderson really showed what he was capable of. In the new offense, Henderson flourished as a down-field threat. He had year-long catches of 76, 84, 75, and 79 yards in his career with the Saints. In his first season with Brees, he also had his career-high in touchdowns at five. This level of play would continue for the rest of Henderson’s career.
These statistics stayed very level for Devery Henderson in his time with the Saints. In every season from 2005-2011, Henderson’s longest reception was over 50 yards. This contributed to Henderson’s yards per reception as well. Henderson averaged over 20 yards per reception in three different seasons and over 15 yards per reception in another three. Another positive for Henderson was his durability. Henderson appeared in 15 or more games in seven of his nine seasons with the Saints. Outside of his rookie year, Henderson only missed five games in his nine-year career. For a down-field runner, this kind of reliability and durability shows the kind of player Henderson was.
Devery Henderson Underrated in Saints Super Bowl Run
Devery Henderson had his biggest season in 2009. This was also the year of the Saints one and only Super Bowl. During this season, Henderson saw the most targets of his career at 83. He turned this into 804 yards, a career-high. Henderson only scored two touchdowns during the regular season but accounted for 33 first downs on 51 receptions. His yards per reception was over 15 for the entire year, not close to his career-best but he was reliable for Drew Brees at getting first downs and extending drives. These numbers would be good by themselves, but it was what Henderson accomplished in the playoffs that often gets forgotten.
Tracy Porter‘s interception, Garrett Hartley‘s field goal, and the “Ambush” onside kick are some of the most remember plays from the Saints 2009 Super Bowl run. Devery Henderson’s play deserves some recognition. After scoring two touchdowns in the regular season in 16 games, Henderson scored just as many in the Saints three playoff games. Over these games, Henderson turned 18 targets into 15 receptions for 182 yards. Most impressively, was Henderson’s perfect seven catches on seven targets in the Super Bowl. This consistency was not something Henderson was known for most of his career. His best average catch percentage in the regular season was 64 percent. A far cry from the Super Bowl season which saw his percentage explode to over 82 percent. Henderson’s contribution helped bring New Orleans its first Super Bowl.
Devery Henderson Career Perspective
The only team that Devery Henderson ever played for in the NFL was the New Orleans Saints. This is incredibly rare in today’s NFL. Henderson played in eight total playoff games and 124 regular season games. Henderson was underrated, especially for his ability to rise to the occasion for the playoffs. His catch percentage, yards per target, and touchdown percentage were higher in the playoffs than the regular season for his career. Players like Reggie Bush and Marques Colston are often the most fondly remembered Saints skill-position players. Devery Henderson belongs in some of these conversions though as he is an underrated Saints player whose contributions need to be remembered.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images