Packers receiving corps will be fine
There’s a ridiculous amount of negative talk surrounding the Packers’ wide receivers.
And that is completely wrong.
This group of receivers will be fine.
First, there’s Randall Cobb. Yes, he is past his prime. At the same time, he’s a sneaky receiver who has a unique connection to the quarterback and that shouldn’t be understated. He also showed he could still produce. In his final game of the season, he amassed nearly 100 yards in the first half before leaving the game with an injury — and that was against a Super Bowl-champion defense.
Then there is Allen Lazard. For some reason, there are a lot of people who still don’t think highly of him. I do not know why. He took on a full-time starting role last year and made the most of his opportunities, scoring a touchdown in one-of-five strikes. It’s a big-bodied target with a large catch radius and it’s hard to take down.
Add Sammy Watkins for veteran depth on a proven contract. Watkins has been limited by injuries (and quarterback play), but, despite missing 12 games over the past 3 years, he still averages around 40 catches and 500 yards. It’s a solid production for an actor. Watkins, who was drafted No. 4 overall, however, has the skills to be more than just a role player. He is still an elite talent when healthy. He may not be healthy every game, but that’s the nature of football.
They are three good veteran players, all with different body types and playing styles. This kind of weapon diversity is great for playing match point when you don’t want your passing game going through a single receiver.
Then the Packers traded for Christian Watson. I know, I know, he wasn’t a 1st round receiver, but he was the first receiver drafted after pick 18. Watson is one of the most physically gifted receivers the Packers have ever drafted and owns the one of the highest ceilings of any receiver in this deep class. The first off-camp clips (albeit without pads) look very promising. If he can pick up the offense, he can add a dynamic element to that offense that they haven’t had. Adams, Jordy, Jennings – they were all great, but none of them came out of college with the physical talents of this kid.
He was also not the only receiver drafted by the Packers. Romeo Doubs has the speed and route running skills to make an immediate impact in this offense. While Watson is an athletic freak in need of a bit of polishing, the Doubs may be a little more pro-ready, despite a lower cap. The Packers even took a flyer on Samori Toure — another wide receiver with good hands and road-running ability — late in the draft.
And then there is the forgotten man: Amari Rodgers. Yes, his rookie season can be accurately described as abysmal. But there’s a reason the Packers traded Day 2 to have it last year. At 5’9.212, he’s built like a bowling ball, presenting a different challenge for defenses. History is littered with successful receivers who had tough outings as a rookie. There’s no reason he can’t bounce back to be the receiver the Packers hoped he would be when they drafted him.
Watch it as a group and what do you see?
A rare combination of youth and experience – a physically diverse group of pass catchers who all have unique strengths.
The Packers have a half-dozen wide receivers with a legit switch to make an impact.
Do I think they will all reach their potential?
But they don’t have to.
People get caught up in fantasy stats and miss the fact that a successful passing offense in the NFL requires more weapon diversity than pinball numbers.
Each of the top six depth receivers (Cobb, Lazard, Watkins, Watson, Doubs, Rodgers) has a completely different style of play. The Packers can work with that. Depending on the type of defense they play, weather conditions and a number of other factors, each of them could potentially be the first receiver.
It’s just another big part of having a coach like Matt LaFleur and a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers. They may have a different #1 receiver each week. It’s not an offense that needs a cleat receiver to funnel pass play (we tried that, it didn’t work), it’s an offense that needs role players with complementary skills for all to do their job.
And that’s exactly what the Packers have.