The Green Bay Packers entered their Thanksgiving matchup with a slew of injuries on both sides of the ball. On the offensive side, tight end Luke Musgrave was placed on injured reserve after suffering a lacerated kidney in the Packers’ win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Additionally, wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks was sidelined with a concussion.
The two injuries appeared to be detrimental to the Packers’ offense going into the game. Both Musgrave and Wicks had become integral parts of the offense and two of Jordan Love’s most trusted targets. In the game against Los Angeles, Musgrave had four receptions for 28 yards, and Wicks had three receptions for 91 yards.
Musgrave, too, is just 23 yards away from breaking Bubba Franks’ franchise record for receiving yards by a rookie tight end. Before his injury, he was also on pace to challenge Sterling Sharpe’s record for receptions by a rookie.
After a slow start to the season, Wicks had come on strong in the last four games he played. Including the Chargers’ game, he had recorded 219 receiving yards in those contests.
With the two of them out, undrafted rookie wide receiver Malik Heath was active for the game and received more playing time than he had seen all season. He rewarded the Packers’ with solid production and one of the highest PFF grades possible.
Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Malik Heath Earns the Team’s Highest PFF Grade vs the Detroit Lions
In the Thanksgiving win over the Lions, Heath had four receptions (on four targets) for 46 yards. He only played 11 snaps, but he made the absolute most of them.
According to PFF, Heath had the highest grade of any offensive player on the team with a 94.5 overall grade. He had a 90.6 receiving grade and an incredible 95.6 run blocking grade.
That level of production, four catches for 46 yards, may not stand out on a stat sheet like Christian Watson’s five receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown (and 87.7 PFF grade), but his catches kept the chains moving.
On the season, Heath now has five receptions for 53 yards, which already gives him a better rookie season than the following former Packers wide receivers:
- Allen Lazard: one reception for seven yards
- Donald Driver: three receptions for 31 yards and one touchdown
- Robert Ferguson: no catches
- Jarrett Boykin: five receptions for 21 yards
Malik Heath Has Surpassed Samori Toure on the Green Bay Packers Depth Chart
While it certainly praiseworthy that Heath had the production that he did, it is notable that he was used in those situations instead of 2022 seventh round pick Samori Toure. So far this season, Toure has five receptions for 62 yards. Most of those yards came on a 35-yard reception that he had in the Packers’ Week Four loss to Detroit.
Toure was active for the most recent game against the Lions, but only played three snaps: two passing plays and one running play. He did record a target.
Looking to the future, the Packers’ top four wide receivers are easily Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, and Wicks. Heath’s ability to fill in for Wicks gives him a strong case for the fifth wide receiver option over Toure. With the strong wide receiver class in the 2024 NFL Draft, one has to wonder if Toure will even make the team next year.
In the wake of an impressive Week 12 performance, Malik Heath, the undrafted wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, has emerged as a standout player. His exceptional PFF grade is a testament to his skill and potential. For more insights and updates on the team, don’t miss our dedicated Green Bay Packers News section, where we bring you the latest developments and in-depth analysis of all things Packers.
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Frequently Asked Questions
No, Malik Heath was not drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Green Bay Packers shortly afterward on May 1, 2023, and made their initial 53-man roster on August 29, 2023.
Malik Heath's contract with the Packers is valued at $2.7 million over a three-year period, as of May 2023. This financial deal reflects Heath's value to the team, ensuring his athletic contributions through the duration of the contract.
Malik Heath played college football for Mississippi State University. As a wide receiver for the Bulldogs, he appeared in 21 games, starting in nine, and recorded 71 catches for 749 yards and eight touchdowns over his two seasons at MSU.