As Round 1 of the NFL draft came to a conclusion, the Green Bay Packers had made two selections and neither was a wide receiver. But they had added three by the time the draft concluded. Still, the Packers need to add to the wide receiver room, even after the draft.
After Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown departed, Green Bay has added Sammy Watkins and second round pick Christian Watson, fourth round pick Romeo Doubs and seventh round pick Samori Toure. It’s a good start.
But it will be impossible to fill Adams’ shoes this offseason alone. However, at the current stage they’re at, there’s a bunch of mix-and-match pieces and no true No. 1 wideout. At this point, it isn’t logical to get that in free agency. But adding a Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr. or Jarvis Landry would give them a production boost that is still needed.
Looking at the landscape right now, it’s hard to know who exactly sits at the top of Green Bay’s wide receiver depth chart.
Some will lean towards Allen Lazard. He’s coming off his best year statistically with 40 receptions, 513 yards and eight touchdowns. Those aren’t No. 1 wideout numbers, but who else takes the cake for Green Bay?
Randall Cobb has the experience. But he’s not in his prime nor does he produce at anywhere close to that level.
Watkins can’t stay on the field.
Watson is the glamor pick in Round 2 of the draft, and he could be the top option right from the start. However, it’s implausible to expect that, in general, and more unlikely given how the operations for Green Bay typically work.
While there isn’t a free agent available that can solve the riddle, quantity that doubles as quality should still be a priority for the Packers at wide receiver.
A move like the Arizona Cardinals made to acquire Marquise Brown on draft night could’ve been the last piece of the puzzle for Green Bay. The Philadelphia Eagles went out and traded for A.J. Brown the same night during the first round, getting themselves a true top of the depth chart wideout to add to the equation. Dreams of the Packers doing something similar for either of those two or guys like D.K. Metcalf or Deebo Samuel never came to fruition. Instead, general manager Brian Gutekunst and the rest of the braintrust remained patient and let the process play out before sliding way up early in the second round to snag Watson.
Aaron Rodgers can mask a lot of shortcomings on the roster. And suggesting that the wide receiver group has shortcomings may be a tad unfair, even if there are some hidden truths within it.
Still, Green Bay would need career years for certain players in critical roles to get everything they can from the current group. That’s not a fair expectation.
Amari Rodgers, for example, remains a great mystery.
Fans were giddy when Green Bay snagged the dynamic wideout from Clemson in the 2021 NFL draft. But he hardly saw the field on offense in his rookie campaign. His most notable time on the field was spent in the return game and it was a disaster, to put it lightly.
It’s perfectly fine to maintain optimism about Rodgers and what he could bring to the table in Year 2. But don’t expect him to emerge as a consistent threat because the Packers need them to.
Lazard is coming off his best year as a pro. But is there more to his game, or does he slot in as a No. 3 option on the whiteboard? Expecting Lazard to become a 70-plus reception guy seems unrealistic.
All of it circles back to the Packers needing to add at least one more piece.
Getting a facelift by adding OBJ or Jones certainly brings its own risks, primarily regarding injuries. However, the good can outweigh the bad if either were able to remain on the field for even two-thirds of the season and then a postseason run. Again, none of these players will replace Adams. That isn’t going to be answered in 2022 or perhaps anytime soon. But Green Bay can’t afford to roll into the season with its current depth chart. It’s good, it’s manageable, but it’s not finished.
The Packers added three wide receivers in the draft after scooping up Sammy Watkins in free agency. Of the bunch, Christian Watson should have the biggest impact in 2022. Still, it’s a lot to ask of a rookie wideout to immediately takeover a wide receiver room.
Adding a productive veteran would be the final domino that Green Bay needs to fall as they advance further into the offseason.