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Projecting the Falcons 2016 offense: Mohamed Sanu

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How will the most polarizing signing of the off-season perform in Atlanta?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There may not be a more controversial signing for the Falcons this off-season than Mohamed Sanu. Many questioned whether he can really be a true WR2 to Julio and still more questioned the large contract he was given. He'll be counted on to step in and help take pressure off of Julio and all signs point to him working his tail off to do so. Will a new quarterback and a new team bring the best out of the fifth year receiver?

Cincinnati (2012-2015)

Sanu had an interesting run with the Bengals. In his four seasons with the team, he showed flashes of being a competent WR2 but was ultimately pushed down the pecking order in 2015, with the emergence of Tyler Eifert.

Year Games Receptions Yards Avg TDs
2012 9 16 154 9.6 4
2013 16 47 455 9.7 2
2014 16 56 790 14.1 5
2015 16 33 394 11.9 0

As you can tell, Sanu's time in Cincinnati was a mixed bag. His 2014 season was a good one, but he fell off considerably in 2015 with a new offense in town. It's hard to figure out how he might fit in Atlanta based on these numbers, so let's take a look at how our second receivers fared in 2015 with the Falcons.

2015 Falcons WR2

Player Games Receptions Yards Avg TDs
Leonard Hankerson 8 26 327 12.6 3
Roddy White 16 43 506 11.8 1
Totals 69 833 12.1 4

While Roddy was hardly treated like WR2 for most of the season, he became the only real option when Hankerson was injured. In reality, the offense chose to look for Tamme and even Freeman before it did Roddy. We may never know if the struggle to find Roddy was due to age, the scheme, coaching or some combination of factors. It was clear that Hankerson - early on - was the definite WR2, and he seemed to play well (minus the excessive drops) when healthy. If Sanu can be healthier than Hankerson and a better schematic fit than Roddy, then he should be able to give us something in this range.

Projection

Of all the players we'll be doing projections on, Sanu is the most difficult. There's just no telling how he'll fit into this offense. We also don't know what kind of chemistry he'll develop with Matt Ryan either. That said, here's a best guess at what we might get out of him in the 2016 season:

Year Games Receptions Yards Avg TDs
2016 16 64 790 12.3 5

What are your thoughts on this projection for Mohamed Sanu?