Which Packers Rookie Wide Receiver Will Have The Best Year?
The Green Bay Packers went very wide receiver heavy in this years draft.
They took three wide receivers for the first time since 2018, and took one as early as day two for the first time since Ty Montgomery in 2015.
The new additions being North Dakota State University’s Christian Watson, Nevada’s Romeo Doubs, and Nebraska’s Samori Toure.
Watson was a highly sought after pass catcher who flew up mock and actual draft boards during the scouting and draft process.
And after his fantastic 40-yard-dash time, going 4.36 at 6-foot-4 who could blame any team who took him.
Doubs and Toure both flew under the radar from Packers fandom as they were both day three picks going in the fourth and seventh round, respectively.
Who out of this Packers draft class will have the best rookie season?
Obviously the focus of the class will be on Watson. He was the highest pick and one of the picks used to trade up and get him was from the Davante Adams trade.
But he has his flaws and is currently on the PUP list heading into camp, not that he can’t get off the list at any time until the finally roster is due, but I felt it was noteworthy enough to point out.
Samori Toure is probably out of the running for the best season for me.
He will be competing likely with Doubs for playing time along with Sammy Watkins and probably Randall Cobb/Amari Rodgers as well.
He isn’t even guaranteed a roster spot at the moment, and although I think that Toure does make it on, that uncertainty plays into this decision.
That leaves Watson and Doubs and this is where I think my take gets a bit controversial.
Watson was in an extremely run-heavy scheme in college—like extremely run-heavy. NDSU had almost double the amount of rushing yards as they did passing yards.
Nevada on the other hand, had a 4,000 yard passer and NFL draftee at quarterback in Carson Strong. Doubs had over 400 more yards than the next receiver in that offense.
Watson had double the amount of catches and over triple the amount of yards as the next receiver but he was still 37 catches and 300 yards behind the production of Romeo Doubs and I think the Packers, and Aaron Rodgers most importantly, value that college production.
Rodgers hasn’t had a rookie receiver surpass 600 yards in their first year. Rodgers actually has only had one rookie wide out get over 500 yards and that was Marquez Valdes-Scantling in his 2018 rookie campaign.
I think that in this year’s offense, which could very well have three first-year wideouts on the opening day roster, Rodgers won’t have a choice but to trust them, and he will still try to go to the guy that has produced the most previously.
This could also have a big impact scheme wise as well.
Head Coach Matt LaFleur will have to figure out who to use where and that is another reason why I think that Doubs gets an advantage over Watson.
Watson has a very different skillset than Allen Lazard as a pass catcher. Lazard is more of a possession receiver who is able to use his size to make contested catches.
While Watson who shares the contested catches skill, is more of a vertical and deep ball receiver.
But another thing they have in common is their size and run blocking ability. Watson and Lazard are both 6-foot-5 and around 210 pounds, Lazard is a bit heavier though.
Lazard is also a better run blocker but Watson, coming from NDSU, is at least a willing blocker who will get his nose dirty.
I think this similarity may hamper Watsons playing time as a pass catcher because you would think on a run-heavy set, they would want Lazard on the field over Watson.
However, the Packers could just as easily run out with two good blockers at wide out and have the two threats of Lazard and Watson on the play action.
But instead, I think the Packers may just go with two people with separate skill sets in some of their run sets.
When the Packers have three or four wide outs on the field, I think both Watson and Doubs will be on the field around the same amount snaps, but because of Watson’s speed and draft status, he may get more attention than Doubs.
Doubs, however, will suffer a bit in the red zone where Watson will thrive. Watson will probably be a key target in goal to go situations.
I don’t think either of these players are going to post even half of J’Marr Chase’s rookie stats, but I think the will look pretty solid.
Christian Watson: 40 catches, 475 yards, and six touchdowns, (100 rushing yards as well)
Romeo Doubs: 50 catches, 550 yards, four touchdowns
Samori Toure: 10 catches, 125 yards, one touchdown