As Matt Ryan looks to get back on track in 2016, he'll have a new, intriguing target working opposite Julio Jones.
Mohamed Sanu, signed to a five-year contract shortly after free agency began, has the toughness, hands and big-play ability the Falcons wanted in a veteran wide receiver. And if he works out in Atlanta, it'll go a long way toward improving the offense.
The potential is there, but Sanu played behind some talented wideouts in Cincinnati, and as someone who's seldom been featured in a major role, he's never amassed more than 790 receiving yards in a season.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks sees that potential and has listed the Sanu-Ryan duo as one of his five underestimated pitch-and-catch combos to watch in 2016.
"The 2012 third-round pick is a big-bodied pass catcher adept at snatching passes in traffic and down in the red zone," Brooks wrote. "Although his statistics took a dip last season in Cincinnati as the team's WR3 (only 33 receptions in 2015, after snagging 56 balls for 790 yards and five touchdowns in 2014), Sanu is capable of stepping up as Jones' sidekick. With the pressure squarely on Ryan to get back on track as a Pro Bowl-caliber passer, Sanu could be the key to the Falcons' offense making a resurgence in the NFC South."
Only time will tell if Brooks is correct, but the two seem to be off to a good start. They got a chance to bond at Ryan's passing camp in Orlando, and throughout June minicamp, Sanu made some nice catches and developed chemistry with Ryan as the practices wore on.
"He's got great hands," Ryan said of Sanu. "One of the things I noticed right from the start is how strong his hands are. He's a really good worker. I think he can really help us."