This season has been a messy one for the Green Bay Packers, however one of the many bright spots I believe the fans can take away is the talent acquired in the draft. Brian Gutekunst has been known to reach on prospects, and take seemingly uncalculated risks when deciding the future personnel of his franchise, but he really did a good job in the 2022 draft. The Packers selected three separate wide receivers. Christian Watson out of North Dakota State, Romeo Doubs out of Nevada, and Samori Toure out of Nebraska. All three of these players have seen at least a chunk of offensive snaps this season, and the skill sets each possess compliment each other perfectly, which is why I believe that the Packers should begin to start all three of the rookies when healthy.
Something interesting to note is how each of these wideouts has been used in the offense so far in the 2022 season, and more specifically how it looks compared to the 2020 season. For example, Romeo Doubs had a very strong start to his career for a rookie, racking up 31 receptions for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns through 50 targets before his ankle sprain. The majority of his targets came in the checkdown and screen game, as his YAC (Yards After Catch) ability seemed to be his best quality. Now a trend that we will see with all the wideouts here is that Doubs has a bit of a drop issue, however he has made a large enough impact on the offense when he was on the field to deserve a starting spot. Another interesting thing to note is his comparison to All-Star wideout for the Las Vegas Raiders Davante Adams. Both receivers have extraordinary YAC potential, and are known for being shifty and agile receivers. Adams also had a drop problem in the beginning of his career, as most Packers fans will remember.
What seems to be the star of the show as of late, 2nd round pick Christian Watson has decided to show up and show out over the last two weeks. Prior to Week 10, Watson has been either dealing with injury, or simply a non-factor in most games, recording only 10 receptions for 88 yards in that span. However, a spark seemed to have occurred in him during the game against the Dallas Cowboys, as Watson popped off for 4 receptions, 107 yards, and 3 touchdowns on the day, leading the Packers to victory. His deep threat ability is a product of his freakish athleticism and an ideal build for a wide receiver. To prove that this stellar performance wasn’t a fluke, Watson then went on to catch another 4 passes for 48 yards and 2 touchdowns in a loss to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football. It seems like Watson is starting to come into his own, and if I were to make a comparison to past Packers, Watson’s skillset is almost synonymous with now Chiefs WR Marques Valdes-Scantling. Watson may even have better contested catch abilities than MVS, but the rest is pretty copy and paste. Both speed demons with maybe a bit of a drop problem as well, but with Rodgers behind center that will surely be improved upon in future games. Nonetheless, a starting spot should be all but guaranteed for Watson going forward.
In all honesty, Toure is the hardest to make a case for here, simply because of his limited snap count and target rate, however I believe there is still ample reason to include him in the majority of the game plan. So far, Toure has only recorded 4 receptions for 75 yards this season, with his highlight play being a 37 yard touchdown catch against Buffalo in Week 8. That being said, Toure could serve to be the player the Packers originally were looking for in Amari Rodgers, and could be looking to replace Randall Cobb with. As much as Randall Cobb has certainly done enough to earn Aaron Rodgers’ trust already, not giving Toure the opportunity to show off the talent he displayed at Nebraska would be a disservice to his development. Putting Toure in the slot would be a perfect catastrophe for opposing defenses, with Romeo Doubs pulling defenders towards the line of scrimmage and Watson running deep to take away the safeties. All Toure would have to do at that point is maybe outrun a linebacker or two in order to find open space and get those guaranteed yards that the Packers have needed so desperately on 3rd and 4th down conversion attempts this season. All of these things are accomplishable by the rookie, but Lafleur and Rodgers both have to give him the looks they give players like Cobb in order to see the same production.
The Triple Threat
As briefly stated when talking about Toure, these wideouts were made to complement each other and I believe Gutekunst knew that when he drafted them. Having lost crucial pieces such as Adams and MVS were brutal to the offensive gameplan, but their replacements have essentially already been drafted. Doubs serves as probably the primary threat to defenses, with his ability to create something out of nothing in the open field, as well as his reliability in the short passing game in general, similar to what Adams was to the offense. Watson is very clearly the MVS of the future, with big play speed and bigger play physicality. He outshines Allen Lazard by a mile in terms of talent in my eyes, so there is no reason for him to be getting less snaps. As for Toure, he just needs a chance, more specifically the same chances that have been given to the other two rookies, in order to produce. His value in the slot would be unmatched, and with Randall Cobb as a mentor at the position, his development could be exponential. It might not be a good idea to show Rodgers this article given his relationship with Cobb, however I think it is definitely a conversation that should be had.