Green Bay Packers

Samori Toure Is Quickly Becoming Green Bay's Forgotten Man

Photo Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers got a nice stocking stuffer on Christmas Eve with a victory over the Carolina Panthers. The game looked like many of Green Bay’s games in the second half of the season. The offense had a nice showing despite only having a disjointed group of weapons, while the defense and special teams did their best to lose the game.

One of the most promising tenets of an offensive performance like this is seeing Jordan Love elevate unproven players in the passing game. Green Bay has a surprising depth of capable pass-catching targets.

Love and the offense put up 33 points, their second-highest of the year while missing Christian Watson, Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave, and Dontayvion Wicks (in the second half). Without any proven veterans and the sheer amount of injuries the team has faced, depth players have plenty of opportunities to build some tape.

So it’s interesting that Samori Toure, last year’s seventh-round WR and one of the group’s most “experienced” players, can’t carve out a role. Toure finds himself out-snapped and out-targeted each week, and his opportunities are quickly vanishing. Can Toure stand out and create a role in a deep group?

Toure finished his rookie season with ten targets, five receptions for 82 yards and one touchdown. Not a bad showing for a final-round rookie. Coaches raved about Toure off-season, complementing his better understanding of the game and being in even better shape to enter his sophomore season.

It seemed like Toure would take on a bigger role in 2023, thanks to the lack of experienced options and spending a year learning the offense. And Toure has had more production this year. He saw 15 targets for seven receptions at 84 yards.

But it’s clear Toure is the bottom option in the receiving room right now. He’s WR6 on the depth chart. Watson, Doubs, Reed, and Wicks are the clear top four, while UDFA Malik Heath has jumped above Toure on the depth chart. Before Sunday’s victory, Heath was already outproducing Toure, with 10 receptions on 17 targets and one touchdown.

Toure had a nice outing against the New York Giants, but that might not be saying much, considering how bad the rest of the team played. He caught two of his four targets for 22 yards and was one of PFF’s top-graded offensive players.

It looked like Toure would be in line for a bigger role with Watson and Reed out against Carolina, and Wicks later exiting the game. But it looks like even practice squad call-up Bo Melton is ahead of Toure.

Melton capitalized on his opportunity with Toure inactive in Week 15, catching one of his two targets for seven yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And he built on that performance with a solid day in Carolina, catching four balls for 44 yards. The Packers may have found something nice in Melton, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him elevated from the practice squad and onto the active roster.

With Heath and Melton settling into the WR5 and WR6 roles, that doesn’t leave many opportunities for Toure, and 2023 seventh-rounder Grant DuBose should get a chance to crack the roster next year. Toure will face even more challenges to see targets moving forward.

And it doesn’t help that Toure doesn’t play a role on special teams. A teams role is one factor that gives Heath and Melton an edge over Toure. If you’re a fringe roster player without a role on special teams, it’s very difficult to justify a roster spot.

Toure must not be impressing in practice. Otherwise, he’d be getting more opportunities with all the injuries piling up on Green Bay’s offense. He doesn’t look completely frozen from targets like Aaron Rodgers would treat receivers; Love looked Toure’s way against the Giants on a deep Christian Watson-type throw. But Toure is quickly being forgotten.

We know Brian Gutekunst loves his draft picks, but he hasn’t been afraid to move on, especially from his late-round selections. It might be worth elevating Melton and stashing Toure on the practice squad to see if he grows as a player.

Green Bay’s receiving group is starting to carve a clear identity, with each player finding their niche and promising a bright future for years to come. Depth options like Health and Melton are proving the lights aren’t too bright for them, and they can contribute when needed. Meanwhile, Samori Toure is looking like the odd man out.

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Photo Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

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