Allen Lazard is entering his third year as a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers after going undrafted in 2018. There is a strong correlation between the third year of a wide receivers career and their ability to leap forward in their play. The 2020 season will technically only be Allen Lazard’s second year in terms of snaps and playing time. Lazard has shown a connection with Aaron Rodgers that has Lazard primed to be the number two wide receiver on the team.
Previous Packer Wide Receivers
When we talk about a Packers wide receiver leaping forward, the key to making that determination is looking at the number of games started. Jordy Nelson’s breakout year was in his fourth year when he doubled his games started. James Jones made the leap much later, but his games started jumped to 16. It is important to note that Davante Adams and Greg Jennings started in over ten games a season since entering the league as rookies. Allen Lazard’s games started more closely aligns with Nelson and Jones at this point.
By no means am I saying that Lazard is going to be any of these four players but only offer them up as an upside comparison. Lazard’s combine measurements in the 40-yard dash and broad jump are relatively similar to all four. Allen Lazard is similar in size to Jordy Nelson but is still taller than all four at 6’5.
Lazard finished the 2019 season with 35 receptions on 52 targets totaling 477 yards and three touchdowns and did not play for the first five games of the season.
The year before Jordy Nelson broke out; he finished the season with 45 receptions on 64 targets totaling 582 yards with two touchdowns. Nelson broke out the next year with 1263 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. Nelson went on to be one of the best wide receivers in the league.
James Jones broke out much later but was behind Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Donald Driver on the depth chart. Donald Drivers’ last productive year was in 2011 recording six touchdowns, and games started fell from 15 to one. James Jones breakout year? 2012. Jones went from 38 receptions on 55 targets to 64 receptions on 98 targets. James Jones had a modest jump in yardage but doubled his touchdowns. Jones was a reliable number three wide receiver for the Packers.
Why Lazard will break out.
So why is Allen Lazard going to break out in 2020? First, both Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham left after the 2019 season, and this leaves a combined 115 targets to be spread between the reaming players. Jace Sternberger will see a jump to roughly 40 or 50 targets leaving around 60 or more targets for the remaining players. An increase of 40 targets to Lazard means almost 100 total targets. Based on 2019 and only 11 games, Lazard finished with a 67 percent catch rate. At 67 percent, Lazard will total 61 receptions and 831 yards and put him at number two just behind Davante Adams.
Lazard earned Aaron Rodgers trust.
Lazard earned the trust of Rodgers last year and made some great catches in the process. Allen Lazard had one of the lowest drop percentages on the team and was 22 in the league. Aaron Rodgers had a 115.6 quarterback rating when targeting Lazard. Lazard’s targets jumped in in weeks 15 and 16. In week seven versus the Raiders, Lazard made a leaping catching to come down on the sideline with a fantastic toe tap. In a snowy game against the Giants, Lazard had one diving catch and a wide-open touchdown. Lazard also made two great catches for touchdowns against the Lions.
With a modest increase in catch percentage and a jump in targets, Allen Lazard could quickly become the wide receiver that the Packer’s offense has been missing.
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