This is the next in a series of articles providing an in-depth analysis of each position group on the Green Bay Packers. Today we will analyze the wide receivers. For our look at the quarterbacks, click here, click here for running backs, here for the defensive line, here for inside linebackers, here for tight ends, here for edge rushers, here for offensive line, here for the secondary and here for special teams.
The grades will be for each unit as a whole but we will provide analysis of each player, their strengths and weaknesses and a quick analysis of where they stand heading into the offseason.
There was a lot of change at wide receiver for the Packers this season. Last year’s top two wideouts, Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were not back with the team. The Pack added three receivers in the draft and signed one veteran free agent. The passing game struggled early in the season in part due to the turnover at the receiver position. Some improvement was noticeable later in the year. Drops were also an issue especially early in the season as was Aaron Rodgers’ lack of trust in his receivers.
Here are the grades for the Packers wide receivers in 2022. The marks are based on a combination of expectations and performance.
The Packers had Lazard designated as WR 1 which is not a position his skill set is ideally suited for. He did set a new career high with 60 catches and 788 yards and he caught six touchdown passes but Lazard will be more effective as a second or third receiver.
Lazard has great size and consistent hands but he lacks the speed to be the ideal number one receiver. He is a team player and is one of the better blocking receivers in the league. Lazard does all the little things you want a receiver to do and his work ethic and football intelligence are both strong.
The former Iowa State star is an unrestricted free agent who said he believes he will not be back with the Packers next season. The Packers would be wise to bring him back but Lazard is more likely to get a better offer elsewhere because of the Packers cap situation.
Cobb remains a favorite of Rodgers’ and his place in Packers history is secure. Cobb provided experience and depth at the receiver position and caught 34 passes for 417 yards and one touchdown in 13 games.
Cobb is a role player at this stage of his career but can still contribute from the slot and as a helpful third-down target. He does struggle to stay healthy which is not unusual given Cobb’s size and age.
Like Lazard, Cobb is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He already took a pay cut to stay with the Packers last season. Rodgers wants him back but if Cobb is going to return, it would have to be with another team-friendly deal and he would again be a role player.
The Packers signed Watkins as a free agent and hoped the veteran would stay healthy and get his career back on track. The former Bills first round pick had a good game in Week 2 but was injured and missed the next four games. He was never able to integrate himself into the offense after that and was released in early December.
Watkins caught just 13 passes for 206 yards and did not catch a touchdown. He signed with the Ravens after being cut loose by the Packers and will again be a free agent this offseason. Unfortunately, the Watkins experiment did not pan out as hoped.
Watson got off to a slow start to his NFL career due to injuries. The former North Dakota State star had a lot of learn to begin with making the jump from a smaller school to the NFL. He missed most of training camp and all the preseason due to injury and then had that spectacular drop on the Packers first play from scrimmage against the Vikings.
Nagging injuries slowed him throughout the first half of the season but from Week 10 on, Watson became a key part of the offense and gave it a different dimension.
His speed and size make him a matchup nightmare for defenders and when he gets more comfortable in the offense and gains more experience, he has the potential to become an elite receiver.
Watson finished the season with 41 catches for 611 yards and seven receiving touchdowns. He also ran for two more scores on end arounds.
Watson is most likely the team’s WR1 of the near future if he continues his development.
Doubs was a standout in training camp and in the preseason. His work ethic and attention to detail helped him make a big first impression. He was pressed into a larger than expected role early in the season when injuries struck the veteran receivers. At midseason, Doubs himself missed four games due to injuries.
The Nevada alum finished his rookie campaign with 42 catches for 425 yards and three touchdowns. He projects as a solid WR2 who serves as more of a possession receiver who can help keep the chains moving. Aaron Rodgers seemed to trust Doubs sooner than any of the other young receivers.
A second year jump from Doubs would be huge for the Packers offense.
The Packers final pick in the 2022 draft had a strong preseason and made the roster. He played in 11 games and caught five passes for 82 yards and a score. Toure only played 16 percent of the Packers offensive snaps in the games he played.
The Nebraska alum will look to build on his rookie year and take on a bigger role on offense in 2023. How many receivers the Packers draft or sign in free agency will go a long way to determining how big a role that will become.
Amari Rodgers continued the Packers third round jinx when he was released midseason. Rodgers struggles as a punt and kick returner were discussed in the special teams evaluation.
He never took on a big role as a receiver with Aaron Rodgers reiterating to the media that Amari was their return specialist but nothing more. In 10 games with the Packers, Rodgers caught four passes for 50 yards. He didn’t take on a major role as a receiver even when Watkins, Cobb and Lazard were all injured and that speaks volumes.
The Texans picked him up after the Packers let him go and he caught 12 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown in six games for Houston.
Unfortunately for Amari Rodgers and the Packers, he will go down as a third round bust.
Winfree spent the season on the practice squad and was elevated for three early season games and caught one pass for 17 yards. Winfree has been with the Packers for three seasons now and plays well enough in preseason to make the team but never does much once the games count in the standings.
He is a useful but limited veteran player who knows his assignments and runs solid routes. He was not signed to a futures deal by the Packers after the season and may not be back in camp next season.
The Packers signed Jeff Cotton and Bo Melton to futures deals to compete for a roster spot in camp next season. Cotton played one game for the Jaguars in 2021. He has good size at 6’2” and 204 pounds. The former Idaho star will compete for a job in training camp.
Melton spent most of the season on the Seahawks practice squad before the Packers signed him on December 27. The Rutgers alum was a seventh round pick by Seattle in last year’s draft and will look to make an impression in training camp.
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