By the time the end of the NFL draft rolls around, it feels like a crawl to the finish line. The names selected are often forgotten by fans until offseason programs roll around and we hear from them again.
One seventh-round selection for the Green Bay Packers this year, Nebraska wide receive Samori Toure, is worth keeping tabs on as spring turns to summer.
Toure began his college career in the FCS at Montana. In his last year with the Grizzlies, the dynamic wideout piled up 87 receptions for 1,495 yards and 13 touchdowns. Toure wasn’t a typical late-round pick where the Packers noticed blazing speed or incredible length at the wide receiver position. They scooped up a player who flat-out produced and posted eye-popping numbers in college.
It would have been silly to expect Toure to live up to that production at Nebraska in 2021. Still, he posted 46 receptions for 898 yards and five touchdowns, leading the Cornhuskers in all three categories.
Keep in mind this wasn’t a powerhouse that Scott Frost was running. Last year the offense had plenty of limitations that caused headaches for any Big Red fan. Still, Toure came in during his only season in Lincoln and shot up the depth charts to become the top option.
Now look at Green Bay’s current situation.
The Packers drafted two wide receivers before Toure, and it’s very possible they still add a veteran in free agency. While wide receiver was the one glaring need on the roster following the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay has filled the position with plenty of bodies at the moment.
Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Christian Watson are locks to make the final roster. It’d be super surprising if Amari Rodgers and Romeo Doubs weren’t right there with the first group after the final cuts. They also signed Sammy Watkins this offseason.
That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for someone like Toure. However, suppose he can stand out in the offseason programs and take advantage of some likely preseason opportunities. In that case, the Packers aren’t exactly in a position to shoo away any wideout who shows promise.
Per NBC26 in Green Bay, Toure has the perfect mindset heading into his chance to carve out a role with the Packers.
“I know I was a late-round draft pick, but all that matters is that I’m here now,” Toure said. “I’m very confident and very optimistic in my abilities.”
“I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder,” he said. “It’s something that I’ll carry with me, but at the end of the day, like I said, we’re all here now.”
Standing out in the Big Ten certainly helped Toure bulk up his resumé, but he believes he was good enough to get drafted even had he opted to stay at Montana.
“Being able to play against the best competition, being in the Big Ten is something that I feel like prepared me pretty well for the NFL,” he said. ”I think I still could have made it (to the NFL) out of Montana, but I think Nebraska better prepared me for the NFL.”
That mindset can be contagious in a wide receiver room that absolutely has a lot of mix-and-match pieces. Among all the names is Toure, who did nothing but show out in college and back up his play with massive numbers.
There may have been more exciting options for the Packers to veer towards in the final round. It seemed as though every fanbase wanted their team to scoop up Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross, who ended up getting plucked by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. Going off the map and taking a quarterback or a special teams player late in the draft always briefly makes headlines. Instead, the Packers took a flier on a wide receiver who has shown the ability to leave a significant imprint at two different colleges.
It’ll be far from a cakewalk for Samori Toure to make the final roster, as is the life of most players selected in the seventh round. But he has a solid resumé with plenty of tape and the right mindset. Toure was worth the draft pick. Just like when he transferred from Montana to Nebraska, he’ll once again have an opportunity to show people that he’ll smoothly ascend to the next level.