The Green Bay Packers selected three wide receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft. While most media attention has been focused on second-round pick Christian Watson, fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs may be able to contribute more to the offense in his rookie season and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Doubs may not have been selected until day three of the draft, but he has a lot of tools scouts desire. His speed is not elite but it’s more than adequate. He runs the 40-yard dash in about 4.5 seconds. He stands 6’2” and weighs 200 pounds which means he has good size.
He was also very productive in college, finishing with a pair of seasons with more than 1,000-yards receiving. In his junior year, Doubs caught 58 passes for 1,002 yards and nine touchdowns. That’s a healthy 17.3-yards per catch. He followed that up with an 80-catch, 1,109 yard-season in his senior year with 11 touchdowns.
While Doubs may not have as big an upside as Watson, he may be ready to contribute to the offense sooner than Watson for several reasons.
First, Doubs played in a more pro-ready offense than Watson did in college and faced a higher level of competition. Nevada passed the football much more often than North Dakota State and that meant more opportunities for Doubs to catch passes.
The playbook at Nevada also had a more complex route tree than the one Watson ran at North Dakota State. Keep in mind both schools don’t run as many routes or as the typical NFL team, let alone the more involved offense of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur but Doubs is more experienced at running more complex routes and he ran them more frequently in college than Watkins did.
“He’s got length, he’s really fast, he’s a big-time playmaker, and he’s done it for multiple years at Nevada,” Packers GM Brian Gutekunst explained after the draft. “He’s probably one of the more polished players coming out of college just because of his experience. We’re excited to see what he can do.”
Doubs’ familiarity with more of the route tree and his ability to run accurate routes gives him a big edge in another area that will be important to how much he can contribute to the offense in his rookie season: gaining the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers has historically been reluctant to trust young receivers. He has often been critical of them to the media like he was during training camp in 2018 when the Packers drafted three receivers on day three of the draft in Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown.
“It was one of the worst cards sessions we’ve had,” Rodgers said after a frustrating day atg training camp that year. “I don’t know how you can make it any simpler. You literally have what the play would be in our terminology on the card, and the effort level was very low, especially with what I’m accustomed to.”
Rodgers may have mellowed a little bit since then since LaFleur took over as head coach a year later, but he still doesn’t tolerate mental mistakes and drops well. If Doubs is running the routes right and is where he belongs while Watkins struggles more with his consistency, that may mean more opportunities for Doubs this season.
In addition, one skill Doubs possesses that Packers fans will find familiar is the ability to gain an advantage on cornerbacks immediately after the snap of the ball. While Doubs has a long way to go before you can compare him to Davante Adams, one thing he and Adams have in common is the ability to get open almost immediately after the snap.
Adams did it with deceptive moves and expert footwork that left defenders guessing. Doubs does it with a quick first step and the ability to reach his top speed quickly. Again, Doubs needs to prove that he can still accomplish this against higher-end, NFL competition and not just against college players. Certainly, the caliber of competition is much higher in the NFL than at Nevada.
It will not be easy for either Doubs or Watson to have a significant impact on the Green Bay offense in their first NFL season. Rookie wideouts usually need two or three years before they get comfortable playing in the NFL. The Packers saw that happen with Pro Bowl receivers like Adams, Jordy Nelson, Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman and Randall Cobb.
But if we’re comparing the top two wideouts the Packers selected in this year’s draft, Doubs may have a better chance than Watson to have an immediate impact on offense.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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