This is the next in a series of articles providing an in-depth analysis of each position group on the Green Bay Packers for 2023. Today we will analyze the wide receivers. The grades will be for each unit as a whole, but we will give an analysis of each player, their strengths and weaknesses and where they stand heading into the offseason. Here are the grades for the Packers wide receivers in 2023. The marks are based on a combination of expectations and performance.
You can see our final grade for the quarterbacks here and for the defensive line here. The running backs are here, the inside linebackers here, and tight ends here. You can find the edge rushers here, the offensive line here, and the secondary here.
The Packers did not have a clear cut WR1 this season. Quarterback Jordan Love seemed to find whoever was open, rather than focusing exclusively on one favorite target. No receiver had 100 catches or 1,000 yards for the season, but the Packers wideouts were effective as a unit.
Final Grade for the Packers Starting Wide Receivers
Christian Watson started training camp as the closest thing the Packers had to a WR1, but injuries derailed his season before it even started. Watson didn’t play at all until Week 4 and ended up playing in just nine games this season. Injuries left him on a play count for many of the games he did play.
Watson possesses a unique combination of size and speed, but he kept tweaking his hamstrings and missing time. He finished the season with 28 catches for 422 yards and five touchdowns. For the few games he was completely healthy, Watson showed he could be a difference maker.
The former North Dakota State star needs to improve the preciseness of his patterns and improve his ability to make contested catches. If he can stay healthy next season, he should have a large role in the offense.
Romeo Doubs provided the Packers with consistent play in his second season in the NFL. He caught 59 passes for 674 yards and eight touchdowns. The former Nevada star became Love’s most reliable target in clutch situations. While he may not have elite size or speed, Doubs is smart and provides enough skill to succeed in the NFL. He caught six passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in the playoff win over Dallas.
Doubs will battle for playing time in 2024 but will almost certainly carve out a role in the offense.
Final Grade for the Packers Starting Slot Receiver
Rookie Jayden Reed won the starting slot receiver job and ended up leading the team in catches (64), yards (793) and tied for the team lead in touchdowns (eight).
Reed showed good speed and the ability to create separation from defenders. He had a catch percentage of 68.1 and also ran the ball 11 times for 119 yards and two scores.
Look for an even bigger role from Reed in 2024 after he proved to be a fast study as a rookie.
Final Grade for the Packers Primary Backup Wide Receivers
Fifth-round pick Dontavion Wicks surprised a lot of people by finishing the season with 39 catches for 581 yards and four touchdowns. Wicks emerged as a deep threat when Watson was out of the lineup due to injuries.
The Virginia alum caught 67.2 percent of the balls targeted to him and had only three drops all season. Wicks also has the potential to improve in year two if he can earn enough playing time.
Malik Heath provided the fan base with a feel-good story. The undrafted free agent had a strong camp and made the team against long odds. He played in 13 games and caught 15 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Bo Melton spent most of the season on the practice squad but came on late in the season to play a role in the offense. Melton became the first Packers receiver to gain 100 or more yards in a game when he caught six passes for 105 yards against Minnesota on New Year’s Eve.
Melton finished the season with 16 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown after paying his dues for nearly two full seasons on the practice squad.
Samori Toure saw his role diminish in his second season with all the additions at receiver. He played 11 games and caught eight passes for 78 yards before ending the season on injured reserve. His catch percentage was just 44.4 percent. Toure will have to make a jump in his third season to make the team with the increased depth at wide receiver.
Depth at Wide Receiver
Injuries prevented the Packers from getting a good look at Grant DuBose in training camp, but the Charlotte alum did stick on the practice squad. The Pack elevated DuBose from the practice squad for the season finale against the Bears but he did not see action.
Thyrick Pitts was signed to the Packers practice squad in mid-December. The former Delaware star signed a futures contract and will be in camp to compete for a roster spot in 2024.
Final Grade for the Packers 2023 Wide Receivers
The Packers entered the 2023 season without a receiver on their roster with more than one season of NFL experience. This group started the season out slowly as the inexperienced players often ended up on the same spot on the field frequently as they learned the playbook.
By midseason, the group matured and learned their assignments. They also developed chemistry with Love.
There don’t appear to be many egos or prima donnas in the receiver room. There is a lot of potential for this group to shine as they gain experience.
FINAL GRADE: B+
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