While Green Bay Packers fans were disappointed in the lack of a veteran addition to the team at the trade deadline, it’s hard to complain about their rookie receivers from last year’s draft class. Receiver Christian Watson developed into a legitimate deep threat after a breakout game against the Dallas Cowboys and Romeo Doubs had one of the more notable seasons from a late-round selection in recent memory.
Doubs, despite only playing in four games after Week 9 due to a high ankle sprain, put up numbers that no one in his draft range could match. On the year, Doubs posted 42 receptions for 425 yards and three touchdowns. How did the other 10 Day 3 receivers fair in their rookie seasons? They combined for a total of 44 receptions, 574 yards and two touchdowns.
Aside from Doubs, the only other fourth-round receivers in the 2022 draft were the Miami Dolphins’ Erik Ezukanma and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Calvin Austin. Ezukanma caught one ball for three yards while Austin didn’t see a single target as a rookie. To put it simply: Doubs had a really good rookie season relative to expectations.
The only rookie receiver who was in Doubs’ class and wasn’t taken in the first two rounds of the draft was New Orleans Saints’ undrafted gem Rashid Shaheed, a returner who developed into a deep threat later on in 2022. Shaheed, by way of Weber State, recorded 28 catches for 488 yards and two touchdowns after being activated from the practice squad in Week 6.
As far as historical context goes, only 15 Day 3 rookie receivers have been able to match Doubs’ yards and yards per game marks since 2011 — the year in which the rookie wage scale came into effect. Those pass-catchers are Martavis Bryant, Antonio Callaway, Jamison Crowder, Gabriel Davis, Stefon Diggs, Chris Givens, Tyreek Hill, Charles Johnson, Darnell Mooney, Denarius Moore, Hunter Renfrow, Darius Slayton, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kenny Stills and Marques Valdes-Scantling.
That’s not a bad group to be associated with. The list gets cut to eight players if you’re also only looking at receivers who were able to match Doubs’ reception and touchdown marks: Callaway, Diggs, Givens, Hill, Mooney, Renfrow, Slayton and St. Brown.
Doubs’ role is expected to expand in 2023, as veteran receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are set to be unrestricted free agents, leaving the Packers with just five receivers under contract going into the offseason: Doubs, Watson, 2022 draft pick Samori Toure, 2022 practice squad poach Bo Melton and 2022 practice-squadder Jeff Cotton. Hopefully, he can keep this positive momentum going.