The Green Bay Packers are set to open training camp later this week. This is the final article in a series of articles previewing the Packers position by position, analyzing the talent on the roster and discussing key questions that are facing the Packers as they begin preparation for the 2023 season. Today we look at the wide receivers. For our look at the quarterbacks, click here, click here for the defensive line, here for running backs, here for inside linebackers, here for tight ends, here for edge rushers, the offensive line can be found here, the safeties here, you can find special teams here and cornerbacks here.
Packers Wide Receivers
Christian Watson started slowly as a rookie, and he struggled early in the season due to injuries and inconsistency. He had a breakout game in Week 10 against Dallas and finished the season with strong performances.
Watson caught 41 passes for 611 yards and seven touchdowns last season and ran for two more scores on seven rushing attempts.
His unique combination of size and speed gives him the potential to be an elite receiver, but he needs to improve his route running and the consistency of his hands, something that he struggled with in college.
Watson has the potential to be an elite receiver in the NFL, but he has to keep working to get there.
Romeo Doubs made an instant impression last season in training camp, and he led the team in catches in the preseason. After a fast start, injuries slowed Doubs down later in the season. He finished his rookie campaign with 42 catches for 425 yards and three touchdowns.
The former Nevada star has worked extensively with new quarterback Jordan Love and seems to have developed chemistry with him. When Love needs a key catch, he tends to look Doubs’ way.
To take the next step, Doubs needs to stay healthy and be more consistent. If he does that, he should be able to establish himself as a starter who can become a go-to possession receiver who can also get deep and surprise some defenders.
Rookie second-round pick Jayden Reed gives the Packers a player with excellent speed and athleticism who can start in the slot. The Packers haven’t had a weapon in the slot who can stretch a defense since Randall Cobb was in his prime.
The big question surrounding Reed is how quickly picks up the offense and develops chemistry with Love. If he can do that quickly, he can make an impact as a rookie, and give the Packers talent and depth at a young and unproven position.
Battling for backup spots and a place on the roster
Samori Toure made the team last year as a seventh-round pick but didn’t see the field all that often. The Nebraska alum appeared in 11 games and made five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Toure played 112 snaps on offense and two on special teams.
At 6’3”, Toure has the size the Packers like in their wideouts, and he has a year of experience under his belt. He’ll need to make a second-year jump to establish a role in the offense and to show he can be a regular contributor to the team.
He will have to refine his route running and consistency before becoming a big part of the Green Bay offense. Wicks is an elite athlete with good but not great speed by NFL standards. He had a better season in 2021 than 2022 and may need to regain some confidence.
Once he learns the offense, he could add another dimension to the offense.
Malik Heath signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent this spring. The former Ole Miss receiver has good size and hands, but his 40-yard dash time kept him from being drafted.
The key question Heath must answer is whether he has the quickness to get open consistently in the NFL. He made some plays at minicamp and OTAs that got the attention of the media and coaching staff.
Heath will need a strong camp to make the practice squad but if he shows potential, he could stick around and get another chance next season.
The Packers added Grant DuBose in the seventh round of this year’s draft. He has good size and a high RAS but that didn’t always translate to big plays at the University of Charlotte.
DuBose will start training camp on the non-football injury list. He has not been able to participate in OTAs or minicamp because of the injury in question.
The longer DuBose remains unable to practice, the less likely he’ll make the roster. He may be placed on IR or another injured list if he isn’t ready to practice in time.
The Seahawks drafted Bo Melton in the seventh-round last year and the Packers signed him in December. Melton is fast and athletic.
The big question surrounding him coming out of college was his size and whether he could overcome press coverage at the next level. He also needed to be more consistent with his hands.
Melton made some plays that caught the eyes of the coaching staff at OTAs and minicamp but will need a strong preseason to make the roster.
Jeff Cotton has one game of NFL experience which puts him ahead of a lot of the other players fighting for a roster spot at the position.
Cotton spent time on the Packers practice squad last season. He has good size and speed but is still unproven at the NFL level.
The Packers placed Cotton on the PUP list late last week which means he is not ready to start practicing yet due to injury. The longer he’s out of practice, the smaller his chances are to stay with the team.
Undrafted free agent Duece Watts signed with the Packers in May. The Tulane alum averaged 17.6-yards per catch and caught 17 touchdowns in college.
Watts was a big-play receiver in college but must prove he can do it at the NFL level.
Scouts consider Watts a long shot to make the Packers and he’ll need a strong camp to make the practice squad.
Jadakis Bonds made a lot of big plays at Hampton University and has good size at 6’3”. Obviously, he’s making a big jump from Hampton to the NFL.
Bonds should be able to use his size and speed to exploit zone defenses. The wide receiver room is crowded so Bonds faces an uphill climb to make the roster.
Three Key Questions
Packers wide receivers Question Number 1: Who will take a 2nd-year jump?
The Packers don’t have any player on the roster with more than one year of NFL experience. The team will need at least one of their three 2022 draft picks at receiver to make a second-year jump and establish themselves as bona fide NFL starters.
Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs certainly showed flashes of ability to the Packers need more than potential now especially with Love taking over at quarterback.
Packers Wide Receivers Question Number 2: Do the Packers add an experienced veteran to the mix?
The lack of experience could be an issue for this team. While Gutekunst prefers to work with his young players and let them develop together with Love, adding a reliable veteran is still a possibility if the team needs more stability.
The Packers could scour the waiver wire after final cuts, or they could stand pat with the young talent they have.
Packers wide receivers Question 3: Will Christian Watson become a clear cut WR1?
Watson’s rare combination of size and speed gives him the potential to become an elite NFL receiver but potential means you haven’t done it yet. Will Watson become a clear but WR1? Will that happen this season?
The Packers enter the year without an established WR1 and need somebody to fill in that role sooner rather than later. Watson is the leading candidate, but will he get it done?
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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