Look at Mohamed Sanu’s stats for 2012: 16 catches for 154 yards and four touchdowns. Not very impressive to say the least.
So why is he on our breakout list?
The reason is that those numbers were accumulated in only five games as Sanu took on a larger role in the offense. Unfortunately, he suffered a stress fracture and was out from Week 13 on.
Two factors are working in Sanu’s favor. The first is that he is the odds on favorite to win the number two receiver spot in the Cincinnati Bengals offense.
The second year player will be given the opportunity to thrive with additional playing time and based on what he showed last season; there is a lot of room to grow.
Remember that in Sanu’s last season at Rutgers, he caught 115 passes. He is a volume receiver and is a red-zone threat-- as was evidenced in his four touchdowns in his final three games last season
Sanu spent the majority of his snaps in the slot last year and is a classic possession receiver. Imagine Reggie Wayne-lite as the potential for Sanu this season.
The other reason that Sanu will breakout is simple: A.J. Green. Green is an elite receiver, easily top five in the NFL. Defenses have to respect Green and thus, will rotate coverage his way. This is fantastic for Mohamed Sanu as he will have room to work with underneath in single coverage.
Furthermore, the Bengals must force teams to respect their other weapons on offense. They drafted Tyler Eifert at tight end but will also rely on Sanu to draw attention.
Andy Dalton threw the ball 528 times last year completing 329 passes. Those balls can’t just go to Green and Sanu should be the main beneficiary of this. Assuming Sanu is healthy (and all reports say that he is at 100%), Sanu is a fantastic breakout candidate.
Take a flyer on Sanu. You won’t be able to find a number two receiver with as much upside as Sanu anywhere near where he is being placed.
For example, five receivers going ahead of Sanu are Rod Streeter, Joe Morgan, Stephen Hill, Jarius Wright, and Davone Bess. As far as upside goes, give me the man opposite A.J. Green.
I feel confident in boldly predicting 70 catches, 950 yards, and nine touchdowns, which would put him as a top 25 receiver based on last year’s scoring totals.