This week, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is getting a first look at his new players at rookie minicamp. That includes three freshly drafted wide receivers that may have to play large roles in this year’s offense.
“They’re all their own type of receiver, but I do think they all offer some versatility whether we want to put them inside or outside,” LaFleur said Friday. “They’re all eager to learn, we’ll just see how much they can handle and how fast they can acclimate themselves to our offense.”
Naturally, most of the attention is on second-rounder Christian Watson, but fourth-rounder Romeo Doubs is an interesting player that could surprise people this season. Meanwhile, seventh-rounder Samori Toure has a good shot at making the team if he can stand out on special teams.
However, the first hurdle for the rookie receivers will be learning the ins and outs of LaFleur’s offense. After that, it’s anyone’s ball game.
The Packers do not have an established number one receiver and may not even know who their number two is, for that matter. They have three veteran guys in Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins on their depth chart, but all three fall under the WR3 tier. It will be crucial for them to help get the younger guys up to speed.
“I’m excited to learn and grow,” said Watson. “There’s a lot of guys who have been doing it for a long time and have a lot of knowledge to pass down. And obviously, with Aaron (Rodgers) at the helm, there is a lot to learn from everybody in the offense, so I’m really just excited to learn and grow and see how much of a step I can take at this next level learning from those guys. ”
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Watson has the best chance to distinguish himself from the group. Green Bay traded away two second-round picks to take Watson at No. 34 and make him their highest drafted player at wide receiver since Javon Walker was selected 20th overall in 2002.
Of course, learning the playbook and building chemistry with the starting quarterback won’t happen overnight.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Watson said. “I’m trying to go and learn as much as I can as soon as possible, and I know the other guys are doing the same thing.”
The Packers have a whole summer and training camp to gauge who will be capable of doing what next season. Still, it’s no secret that at least one of their young receivers will need to step up so the offense can play to its highest potential. The expectations in Green Bay haven’t changed despite a disjointed receiver room.