Since taking over as the starting quarterback in 2008, Aaron Rodgers has always had an established No. 1 wide receiver. From Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams, Rodgers has always had “that guy.”
Now as he prepares for his 18th year in the league, the reigning MVP will do so without that proven No. 1 wide receiver.
“When you walk in the locker room for so many years and you see 87’s locker, that’s Jordy Nelson. You see Davante Adams. It gives you a different feel. You just kind of know that you got that guy. We have some opportunities for some guys to step into that role.”
Allen Lazard is the odds-on favorite to become the next No. 1 wide receiver for Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. During the final five regular season games last season, Lazard hauled in 21 receptions for 290 yards and five touchdowns.
“I think Allen is ready to make a jump and be a No. 1 wide receiver,” Rodgers said. “Excited about the opportunity to work with him.”
With Adams now in Las Vegas, there will be even more opportunities for Lazard to showcase his talents and build off his strong finish to the 2021-2022 season.
“He’s capable of a lot,’ Rodgers said. “Since his first day, he’s turned heads…He’s been working hard. He has a lot to prove to himself…I like a hungry Allen Lazard.”
After trading Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders and losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency Brian Gutekunst needed to rebuild Green Bay’s wide receiver room.
Gutekunst went out and signed veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins to a one-year deal and drafted three wide receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
A wide receiver depth chart that currently consists of names like Lazard, Cobb, Watkins, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Amari Rodgers, and Samori Toure is not going to turn heads. However, Rodgers likes the makeup of the group.
“Allen sets the standard,” Rodgers said. “Randall sets the standard…the young guys have to pay attention…there is a lot of talent in that room for sure, and a lot of motivation for some of the comments that’s been sent that room’s way. I like what we did on day one.”
Lazard, Cobb, Watkins, Watson, Doubs, and Rodgers all would appear to be roster locks at this point. A player that could force Green Bay to keep seven wide receivers is Juwann Winfree. Winfree has eight career receptions to his name but has earned the trust of the reigning MVP.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if 88 is over there saying ‘I’m a pretty damn good football player, don’t forget about me’…I think he definitely is going to put himself into a position to have an impact,” Rodgers said. “I’m really proud of Juwann. He’s always been a professional for us.”
Cobb is the seasoned veteran among the group and has 591 career receptions to his name. However, he’s nowhere near the player that caught 91 passes for the Packers in 2014.
Watkins has 348 career receptions but hasn’t played a full slate of games since his rookie season in 2014.
Lazard is the clear-cut favorite to become Rodgers’ next go-to guy. Who will step up behind him is unclear. Rodgers noted that the young players have talent, but said it will take time to see who becomes the next great wide receiver for the Packers.
“Obviously 17 as a rookie wasn’t what he was when he left,” Rodgers said. “Jordy Nelson as a rookie was returning kicks and I think he had one or two touchdowns…We need to have patience with them.”