As soon as Aaron Rodgers signed his extension, Packers Wide Receivers once again became the talk of the offseason. Through free agency and the draft Packers fans got to hear how every single wide receiver available would “be a good fit.”
The time for adding players is gone and it is time to take a look at who is going to make the roster and who they can stash on the practice squad.
Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson
These four receivers are almost certainly going to be Green Bay’s core group. In this group you will find a little bit of everything.
Lazard and Watkins are the strong and athletic possession receivers. Both can block well and use their veteran experience to find openings in the second level of the defense. Lazard has the slight advantage with his time with Rodgers, but if Watkins can develop an early chemistry he could very well make a valuable impact.
Cobb of course is the ever reliable best friend and slot receiver for Aaron to hit in a pinch. Green Bay needs him to stay healthy and play smart. Look for him to be the go-to guy on third and shorts and two-minute drills.
Rodgers went as far as to say as the first three are his starters, but Christian Watson can at a MINIMUM stretch the field and at a maximum develop into a star by the second half of the year. His role may start out smaller but it WILL get bigger.
The Probables / Special Teams Starters
Amari Rodgers, Romeo Doubs
After the first four receivers on a depth chart coaches stop only looking at their receiving ability and start to look at how else they can contribute to the team. If OTA’s and Minicamp are any sign, both of these players have a chance to make the team for their value on “We-fense” (special teams).
By multiple reports, Amari Rodgers has come into the offseason leaner and with “his swagger back.” Of those two, the swagger are what the Packers need most.
As a punt-returner, Rodgers has to be confident in his decisions and get up field quickly. As a receiver, he may again have limited opportunities this year but he will need to make the most of them. Randall Cobb will not play forever. The Packers don’t need Amari to take over his spot quite yet, but they need him to be ready to when the time comes.
Romeo Doubs is an early fan favorite and many may argue he is a lock. He has looked very solid in practices with a few acrobatic catches, and has been getting looks at both sides of special teams. His speed makes him an asset in both aspects of the game. It will be critical for him to continue to impress and be able to duplicate his practices at game-speed come preseason.
I strongly believe both of these guys make the team, but that puts us already at 6.
The “Hopefully the Packers Keep 7” Squad
Samori Toure, Juwann Winfree, Malik Taylor
Seven is a lot of receivers, but that is what a team needs when the first six have so many question marks. Toure, Winfree, and Taylor all bring a different value to this seventh spot.
Toure is a promising rookie, but could use a year to capitalize on his speed. He has shown up in a few spots at practices though he will have really make a mark to secure his spot against two veterans.
Wide receiver coach Jason Vrable said the Winfree and Taylor look “night and day” better than last year. In 2021, Winfree dominated training camp before having an injury relegate him to the practice squad, while Taylor asserted his own dominance in the preseason earning him the last roster spot.
So far this year, it sounds like Winfree has continued his offseason star-dom. With Taylor having a chance last year and not capitalizing and Toure being a rookie who they can probably stash on the PS for a year, I think Winfree has the best shot to push the Packers to 7 receivers on the depth chart.
The Final Look
53: Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, Amari Rodgers, Romeo Doubs, Juwann Winfree
PS: Samori Toure, Malik Taylor
If there was every a year to keep seven receivers, this is it. This is not the top-heavy group we had last year, but it is a deep group that extends to the practice squad should someone get injured. The Packers are going to need to have rotational players all playing a part and competing to push each other to the next level. All seven will contribute and the opposing defenses will never know where the ball is going to go.
Then we win.
PJ is an Ohio native who was fortunate enough to be born into the green and gold family through his father who grew up in Green Bay. He now resides in NYC where he is an avid fan and fantasy football player. You can follow him on twitter at @roden_pj.