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Mohamed Sanu has gone from controversial free agent to stellar receiver

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Considering the questions about his ability when he was signed, Sanu has more than delivered.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Being a possession receiver next to Julio Jones is, in many ways, a thankless task. Julio is always going to soak up the attention, the fame, and the appreciation in a way you simply cannot. Even Roddy White, in the twilight of his career, faded into the background next to #11.

It is therefore a credit to Mohamed Sanu, who joined the team in the 2016 offseason as a free agent, that he’s managed to become a fan favorite and a truly appreciated cog in this offense. He’s done so by being versatile—that touchdown pass to Julio won’t soon be forgotten—and by simply playing very good football.

In 2015, his final season as a Bengal, Sanu managed 33 receptions, 394 yards, and zero touchdowns, which helps explain why so many Falcons fans were nonplussed by the signing in the first place. In his 29 games with Atlanta thus far, meanwhile, he has 113 receptions, 1,231 yards, and nine touchdowns. That puts him at second on the team in the first two categories over that span, and first on the team in the latter. He has been better than any of us had a right to expect, and he has consistently delivered on key third downs.

I bring this up both because Sanu is coming off of arguably his finest game of the season against the Saints, and as yet another reminder that we are often too quick to judge how these signings are going to pan out. With the team’s receiver depth looking shaky at best, I could not be more grateful for Sanu at the moment.