The Green Bay Packers may be light on experience at wide receiver, at least behind their three veterans, but they’re hardly light on talent and potential. The team selected three players in this year’s NFL Draft, all of whom appear to have the skills to contribute in a meaningful way to an NFL team, even as rookies.
Add into the mix a day-two pick from 2021, and you have a group of players that might require seven roster spots based on that potential alone. Indeed, as Acme Packing Company’s contributors worked our way through our roster predictions, we ended up settling on keeping seven players at this position on the opening 53-man roster, with second-year pro Amari Rodgers being the biggest question mark.
This would be a high number for the Packers, who last kept more than six wideouts after final cuts in 2018. That year, the team actually held on to eight receivers, keeping Jake Kumerow on the initial 53 in order to place him on injured reserve the next day and preserve his eligibility to return to the roster later in the season. The team would then drop down to six after just one game, with Trevor Davis going on IR following the season-opening win over the Chicago Bears.
This season, however, we’re betting on a few of the rookies playing significant special teams roles that have belonged to other veteran receivers or defensive backs in recent years. That should be the pathway for a few of these players to ensure that they provide enough value to the team to avoid cutting bait before a rookie season.
Here’s how we see the final cuts breaking down in this room.
Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins
Which personnel grouping you consider to be the Packers’ “primary” offensive alignment will determine how many receivers end up in the starting lineup, but we’re sticking with 11 personnel (one running back and one tight end, and therefore three wide receivers). In this case, we think the season starts with the Packers’ returning veterans in the starting lineup, sharing boundary and slot duties opposite new arrival Sammy Watkins.
Romeo Doubs, Amari Rodgers, Samori Toure, Christian Watson
Watson is a roster lock and Doubs is all but guaranteed his roster spot, with those statuses based largely on their draft status. We feel that Toure earns another slot on the 53 with his ability and apparent willingness to play special teams. Finally, just enough of our contributors kept Rodgers on as a seventh wide receiver to keep him on our compiled prediction, rather than using that roster spot for another position on defense. Hopefully the encouraging comments coming out of Rodgers’ teammates and coaches are indeed a sign that he is ready to contribute to this team in his sophomore NFL season.
Danny Davis, Malik Taylor, Juwann Winfree
Unfortunately for Taylor and Winfree, this appears to be the end of the line. With players like Doubs and Toure likely able to contribute as punt or kickoff gunners along with a depth cornerback or two doing the same, there’s just not a way to keep either of them, especially with the team likely still wanting to give Rodgers a second chance to show that he belongs.
Surely the Packers would love to get one or both of those players back on the practice squad, but we expect they will hit the waiver wire on August 30. Davis is a nice story after his career with the Badgers, but he does not seem like a player who will make a significant run at a spot on the 53.