The Green Bay Packers offense struggled in the first half of the season. Too often we saw receivers running the wrong route resulting in multiple players in the same area. We also saw dropped passes and an offense that was often out of sync. But the play of the Packers young receiving crops has improved in recent weeks. Here is a look at five young Packers receivers who are making progress in recent games.
Packers Receivers Making Progress Number Five: TE Tucker Kraft
Statistically, tight end Tucker Kraft hasn’t done much yet this season. The third round pick out of South Dakota State has only five catches on the season for 43 yards. But over the last two games, Kraft has three catches for 38 yards.
Against the Chargers, Kraft made his first big play. It was a 27-yard catch that at first appeared to be a touchdown, but replays showed Kraft stepped out of bounds before reaching the end zone.
This was the first visible sign of Kraft’s ability to make plays down the field and a positive sign for the team.
Kraft has played 32 percent of the Packers offensive snaps this season. Look for that number to increase down the stretch if he continues to play well.
Number Four: WR Romeo Doubs
Romeo Doubs currently leads all Packers receivers with 38 catches. The only reason he isn’t higher on this list is he was more consistent than the other receivers on the team.
When quarterback Jordan Love needs a key reception, Doubs tends to be his first target. The second-year man out of Nevada has developed chemistry with his new quarterback.
Doubs has four touchdown catches in the last five games and leads the team with seven for the season. He also has just one dropped pass all season.
The Packers are hoping Doubs continues to mature and becomes a reliable NFL receiver.
Packers Receivers Making Progress Number Three: WR Dontayvion Wicks
Dontavion Wicks has been a pleasant surprise for the Packers. The fifth-round pick out of Virginia has shown promise as a downfield receiver capable of being reliable and making big plays.
Wicks caught three passes against the Chargers for a career-high 91 yards. That included a career-long 35-yard effort.
In his last three games, he has 10 catches for 191 yards which is an impressive 19.1-yards per catch.
Wicks has played 42 percent of the Packers offensive snaps so far this year. That number should increase if he keeps making plays like he has in recent weeks.
Number Two: TE Luke Musgrave
Tight end Luke Musgrave has been a starter since Week 1 for the Packers. The rookie out of Oregon State had some issues early in the season with his footwork but that has improved in recent weeks.
Musgrave is starting to become more of a downfield threat, something scouts expected of him before the draft.
He made a 36-yard catch against the Steelers and a 25-yard catch the previous game against the Rams.
Musgrave has 33 catches so far this season and an impressive catch percentage of 73.3. His blocking has improved since the beginning of the year although he still has more to learn about technique.
Musgrave is closing in on the Packers record for catches in a season by a rookie tight end which is 34 set by Bubba Franks in 2000. Musgrave would break the mark with two catches against the Lions on Thursday.
Packers Receivers Making Progress Number One: WR Jayden Reed
Jayden Reed has been a fast learner and a solid weapon for the Packers this season. He is the team’s primary slot receiver. He first mastered a go route from the slot for big gains and has recently gotten more consistent and more dangerous. His route tree has expanded as well.
For the season, the Michigan State alum leads the Packers in receiving yards through 10 games with 463 yards on 32 catches. He is also second on the team with four touchdown catches.
Reed has 12 catches in the last three games for 149 yards and a touchdown catch. He continues to show growth and more chemistry with his quarterback as the season heads into its final seven games.
The Packers are hopeful that these young receivers continue their growth and be more consistent as the season continues. Progress is not linear and there will still be some games where they will appear to struggle and take a step back.
But, overall, the arrow appears to be pointing upward for these young receivers who can hopefully develop into a solid set of weapons for the Green and Gold.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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