His lack of size and resume left Deonte Harris undrafted this season.
But no rookie made a bigger impact on special teams than the Saints return man.
The 5-foot-6, 170-pounder from Division II Assumption College only earned Pro Bowl honors this year as a return man, and emerged as a legitimate weapon on a team full of them.
Harris led the NFL in punt return yards this year (338), was fifth in kick return yardage (644) and ranks in the top five in average per return for both (9.4 and 26.8, respectively).
That kind of flash has led PFT to name Harris our special teams rookie of the year for 2019.
He also had a touchdown on a punt return this year against the Seahawks, and the Saints experimented with him a bit on offense, with six receptions and four rush attempts. They’ve been willing to tinker in the past with players such as Taysom Hill, so that role could grow (even if Harris won’t).
There were other strong performances this year, from Browns kicker Austin Seibert, and Washington return man Steven Sims.
Seibert was 25-of-29 on field goals this year for the Browns (86.2 percent), justifying a fifth-round pick.
Sims had a kickoff return for a touchdown against the Lions, and also showed promise as an offensive player as the year went on, with 34 catches for 310 yards and four touchdowns.