Quick thoughts on Packers position groups: Inexperience but upside at wide receiver

ASHWAUBENON, WISCONSIN - MAY 31: Romeo Doubs #87, Christian Watson #9 and Samori Toure #83 of the Green Bay Packers participate in an OTA practice session at Don Hutson Center on May 31, 2023 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
ASHWAUBENON, WISCONSIN - MAY 31: Romeo Doubs #87, Christian Watson #9 and Samori Toure #83 of the Green Bay Packers participate in an OTA practice session at Don Hutson Center on May 31, 2023 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As one part of my preparation for training camp at the end of July, I have been examining each of the Green Bay Packers position groups on the 90-man roster.

Within this series, I have been diving into each position, sharing my thoughts on what I’ve seen and heard during the open practices throughout OTAs and minicamp. I also discuss my expectations within the position groups, questions I still have, and just about anything else that comes to mind.

Up next is the wide receiver position. If you’ve missed any of the previous articles in this series, you can find them below.


Running back

Tight ends 

Offensive tackle

Interior offensive line

– This is the most inexperienced receiver room in the NFL. In terms of time in the NFL, Jeff Cotton has been around the longest as a 2020 undrafted rookie. While by playing time, Romeo Doubs and the 529 snaps he played in 2022 are the most at the position. For this reason, signing a veteran, like Jarvis Landry, for example, makes sense to provide some added stability from the slot. But my guess is that the Packers roll with the current group they have.

– There was a definite connection between Jordan Love and Romeo Doubs during OTAs and minicamp. In many of the team drills, Doubs was Love’s go-to target. In the locker room following one practice, Doubs said that he and Love had worked out together during the offseason and that he believed some chemistry had developed between the two. Love added that Doubs was getting the ball often because he was open often.

– During the NFL Owners’ Meetings, Matt LaFleur said that he doesn’t believe that there isn’t a route that Doubs can’t run. He added that Christian Watson is going to be asked to do a lot more this year from a route-running standpoint. While we will still see Watson used as a vertical threat, he’s too good of a player to only be used in that capacity.

– Although Doubs garnered a lot of attention during the offseason programs, Watson is still WR1 on this team. During the first minicamp practice, he showcased that playmaking ability, catching a beautifully thrown downfield ball from Love, with Jaire Alexander being the nearest defender, that went for a touchdown. Alexander would go on to say that Watson has really been “standing out” on the practice film.

– That play just mentioned, along with Doubs making a sliding catch in the end zone against Alexander that same day, illustrates the progress that these two receivers have made over the last year. Those catches probably don’t take place last summer, something Alexander alluded to after that practice.

– Jayden Reed saw quite a bit of playing time with the starters during the 11-on-11 drills ahead of Samori Toure and spent a lot of time lined up in the slot. With that said, once Alexander and Rasul Douglas returned to practice, it was Toure who was seeing more targets than Reed, perhaps showing the value that his year of experience in the offense and NFL has had. Toure was a terrific downfield target at Nebraska and very good with the ball in his hands. He can carve out a specific role this season as a vertical and over-the-middle-of-the-field presence. Ultimately, my guess is that both see a lot of playing time with Watson and Doubs being the two constants at the position.

– Along with Watson, Reed brings some serious speed to the receiver position for the Packers. Although not an official time, VP of Player Personnel Jon-Eric Sullivan said that they timed Reed in the 40 at 4.37 seconds. His speed and burst is evident on the practice field, and gives him the ability to win outside as well as be a potential high YAC player over the middle. Getting Reed some touches behind the line of scrimmage could be in play as well.

– With Jordan Love at quarterback, I’m expecting a lot more targets over the middle of the field for these receivers. I saw Love during offseason programs attacking this part of the field, and doing so is an important part of the Matt LaFleur offense. Especailly with the speed that the Packers have at this position, it will create a lot of catch-and-run opportunities.

– I really like the upside that Dontayvion Wicks has as a route runner. He has the ability to run a variety of routes. With that said, as a fifth-round pick, he needs refinement, and I expect his role as a rookie to be relatively small. As the fifth receiver on the depth chart, along with how often the tight ends and running backs are utilized in the passing game, I don’t expect there to be many targets, or even snaps, left over.

– The Packers don’t have a true slot receiver this year, which I believe is how LaFleur actually likes it. Instead, they have a handful of players who can line up inside. We will see a lot of movement at the receiver position in terms of alignments, helping to keep the defenses off balance.

– Speaking of movement, I expect a lot more pre-snap motion from the Packers as well. This is a relatively simple way to keep the defense guessing by having them make last-second adjustments or having them tip their hand on what certain responsibilities are. And with that, I also expect to see more gadget-type plays as well, which can also have the same effects that I mentioned in the previous sentence but also generate explosive plays by getting the player the ball in space, along with creating opportunities for others by opening up running lanes and passing lanes through the misdirection and attention drawn. A dark horse roster candidate to keep your eyes on in this role is Bo Melton, who ran a 4.34 40-yard dash last year and was signed off the Seattle practice squad last season.

– A name to watch closely as training camp unfolds is Malik Heath, an undrafted rookie from Ole Miss. Heath totaled nearly 1,000 yards during his final college season at an impressive 16.0 yards per catch. He’s also made at least one play during each of the Packers’ open practice sessions during the offseason programs. For what it’s worth, during the 7-on-7 sessions that featured two groups of Packers offensive and defensive players competing against each other, Heath was in the group that featured the Green Bay starters. Now the next challenge is carrying this momentum to training camp when the pads are on.

– Grant DuBose is yet to participate in practice, which will force him to play catch-up, as LaFleur put it. If I were to guess right now, I would still say that he makes the final roster as the sixth receiver because he is a draft pick, and the Packers have favored those players when it comes to determining who earns those final roster spots. But with that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers keep just five receivers, which is how many I had them rostering in my latest 53-man prediction, or two names that could push DuBose are Melton and Malik Heath.

– There is a lot of exciting potential within this receiver room, but as already mentioned, there is a lot of inexperience as well. Doubs and Watson taking big steps forward is a must, but the reality is, even if they both do that, there will still be ups and downs as both are only entering their second seasons and working with a new starting quarterback.