Tre'Quan Smith was given a choice between two jersey numbers when he arrived in New Orleans.,No. 10 and No. 18.
The number 10 held no personal significance to Smith previously, but he knew it meant something to fans in New Orleans. Brandin Cooks,the Saints’ first-round choice in 2014, wore that number until he was traded to New England in 2017. So Smith, never shy about discussing his own high standards, went with that.
"I knew coming in here who was No. 10 before that," Smith said of Cooks, who had two 1,000-yard seasons in New Orleans and is now with the Los Angeles Rams. "It meant a lot, just what he did on the field while he was here, and it just boosts the expectations in what I have to do. The guy who wore it before me, he was a great player." ”It just boosts the expectations of like, what I have to do. Because I know the guy who wore it before me, he was a great player. So, I want to be a great player.”
The 6-foot-2 Smith is one of two receivers who could grow into significant roles in New Orleans’ passing game. The other is Cameron Meredith, a free-agent acquisition who led Chicago in receiving two seasons ago before missing all of last season with a knee injury. Five days into his first Football training camp, Smith has shown flashes of the kind of game-breaking ability Cooks brought to the offense.
There was the deep ball he bobbled twice, juggled and finally ran under on the first day of camp for a touchdown behind Vonn Bell and Manti Te'o, the play he ran past reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore for another deep ball, a highlight-reel back-shoulder on the same day and an acrobatic grab on a throw from J.T. Barrett, leaping over Justin Hardee and landing out of bounds, only to catch the attention of his starting quarterback.
Smith missed a number of offseason practices with a hamstring injury, but was able to take part in summer workouts Brees hosted in California. Since camp opened, Smith periodically has been working with the first-team offense, and Brees has connected with him deep downfield already. ”He can run,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, but offered only measured praise beyond that. ”He’s making some good plays and then all of a sudden he’s having a few plays that he’s got to correct,” Payton said. ”His stance and start still need work, but (it’s) something he’s been focused on.”