American Football

Packers 2023 Roster Prediction: 6 young receivers for Jordan Love?


Syndication: PackersNews

There’s no lack of options at receiver for Green Bay.

The story of the 2023 Green Bay Packers will be one that ebbs and flows with the team’s young passing game. Good or bad, we’re going to find out a lot about first-year starting quarterback Jordan Love and the seven 2022-2023 draft-pick receivers on the Packers.

It would be impossible to track down, but I would guess that Green Bay’s receiver unit — at least as it appears today — is the youngest ever put together at the NFL level. If it isn’t, it’s very close. The oldest receiver out of the 11-man group is 26-year-old Jeff Cotton, followed by 25-year-old Samori Toure — who was a rookie just last season.

With all that in mind, Acme Packing Company’s staff was dealt the impossible task of predicting how the receiver position will shake out for this year’s Packers. After compiling the votes, here are the starters and backups who we project will be on Green Bay’s 53-man roster in September.

Starters: Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed

One of the rookies from the 2023 draft class who should have an immediate impact on the Packers is receiver Jayden Reed, a second-round pick out of Michigan State. Through minicamp, Reed has worked in as the team’s primary slot receiver.

Reed is going to be something like a half-starter, as Green Bay is likely to continue to use two-tight end sets under head coach Matt LaFleur. Based on the draft choices of tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft on Day 2 of April’s draft, there’s no reason to think otherwise. More on them tomorrow.

With Reed in the slot, the projected starting outside receivers are Christian Watson — who broke out after Green Bay’s game against the Dallas Cowboys last season — and Romeo Doubs — who started off hot before press coverage and injuries slowed him down. With Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb out of the picture, expect both Watson and Doubs to see increased snap counts and targets this season.

Watson is a speedy receiver who likely fits best as a Z (off-ball), a role where he can be used in motion, on end-arounds and as window dressing for run plays when he’s not being asked to run long routes. The question, though, is if Doubs will be able to handle the X (on-ball) position, where he’ll see plenty of the same press-coverage looks that erased him off of the box scores after a hot September as a rookie.

The true wildcard here is if the team decides to add a veteran to the room. The Packers are up against the cap, meaning they have virtually no money to hand out to a veteran receiver this season unless outside linebacker Rashan Gary signs an extension or tackle Yosh Nijman is traded, but it’s not an impossibility.

Backups: Samori Toure, Dontayvion Wicks and Grant DuBose

Our staff decided that the Packers will end up rostering six receivers on the team’s initial 53-man roster. While Bo Melton did earn two votes from our writers, 2022 seventh-round pick Samori Toure, 2023 fifth-round pick Dontayvion Wicks and 2023 seventh-round pick Grant DuBose got the nod here.

Toure will likely be Watson’s backup, as he has the speed of a Z receiver and doesn’t have the prototypical size of a LaFleur wideout. Wicks, though, might be able to sneak in at the X position if Doubs doesn’t take the next step to improve his release package. At 6’1” and 206 pounds, Wicks plays bigger than his size and was very impressive in 2021 before a coaching staff and system change led to a less-than-stellar senior season for the Virginia product.

Released: Bo Melton, Malik Heath, Jeff Cotton, Duece Watts and Jadakis Bonds

DuBose managed to fend off Melton, a 2022 draft pick who was picked off waivers, but there’s another name you need to learn in Green Bay: Malik Heath. Heath was a combine invite who went undrafted in April’s draft and has been making noise in Packers camp, though, it’s worth remembering that the pads haven’t even come on yet. Still, don’t rule out Heath in this race, as he just might end up being that preseason superstar who parlays a strong summer into a roster spot.

The other receivers on the team are Jeff Cotton, who spent Week 10 through 18 on the Packers’ practice squad last season, and undrafted rookies Duece Watts and Jadakis Bonds.

Stay tuned on Thursday as we continue our series by shifting our focus to the tight end position.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login