It’s no secret that Jayden Reed has been an invaluable asset to the Packers’ booming offensive production. The second rounder out of Michigan State has been able to tear through the meanest defenses the league has to offer in his first year. The Packers picked this rising star up to help pick up the slack after they traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, and after his Thanksgiving performance against the Lions, it’s safe to say he’s doing his part.
Reed has been able to maintain the position of a top-notch receiver, credited by his scrimmage yards per game, but he’s also proven himself to be a key component to the Packers’ offense even when the ball doesn’t come his way.
Green Bay’s Jayden Reed Can Do It All
Through 11 games, Jayden Reed has averaged around 3 catches per game for nearly 500 yards and 5 receiving touchdowns. He leads his team in receiving yards and averages more than any other receiver with 30+ receptions, beating out Romeo Doubs by 3 yards per catch. Though Doubs has found the end zone more frequently, Reed has found himself in a larger role in the Packers’ passing game as of late.
As the season has progressed, the Packers have utilized Jayden Reed’s talents elsewhere, taking advantage of his lightning-fast speed around the edge. Reed has 7 carries and 81 rushing yards on the year, 2 of which he bolted passed the secondary for 20+ yards. He has 1 rushing touchdown to add to his collection of scores, bringing the total to 6 over his 11 game professional career.
Jayden Reed has adapted well to the Packers’ offense, aiding them in 3 wins in their last 4 games after starting the 2023 season 2-5. If the pace continues, he’s likely to be compared to other dual threat receivers.
Jayden Reed with 3-42-0 receiving and 3-46-1 rushing in the 1st half so legally speaking he's now Deebo Samuel
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 19, 2023
As a lethal weapon to a defense’s perimeter players, Jayden Reed has given the Packers an edge (quite literally) that not may other teams have. However, Reed isn’t just a stellar receiver like the numbers suggest. He’s able to take on defenders twice his size to block for his teammates, provide decent protection, and distracts defenses when the ball is going the other way. Coach LaFleur gives him high praises regardless what play is called:
“I think the numbers are more reflective of him making the most out of his opportunities because you never quite know where the ball’s going to go and just a lot of it is coverage-dependent, and when it’s came his way, he’s made plays”
During the grueling match against the Detroit Lions on his Thanksgiving Day debut, Jayden Reed courageously challenged one of the league’s best pass rushers and bought time for the play to develop in the backfield. Khalil Mack is widely known as a terror to offensive fronts, but Reed stood his ground and knocked him off his path without hesitation for the betterment of his team.
Block Khalil Mack? Jayden Reed can do that too. pic.twitter.com/EyqRsL6ird
— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) November 20, 2023
Even though Reed only managed to maintain Mack for a couple of seconds, that’s more than enough time for the play to carry out behind him. When defensive coordinators take a glance at formations like the one above, Reed taking on Khalil Mack isn’t their first thought, throwing a wrench into the initial call on the play. This factor elevates his skillset to the stuff of nightmares for defenses.
The utility that he brings to the Packers forces opposing teams to pay him more attention than they’d like. Now that the entire NFL knows what he can do and how effective he can be, he’s going to receive a lot more attention during film walkthroughs. Wherever Jayden Reed lines up, it’s nearly impossible to predict what LaFleur wants him to do. Catching passes, rushing the edge on a motion, chipping pursuing defenders, Jayden Reed can do any of these without difficulty. If Green Bay can find a way to slide into the 6th or 7th seed in the postseason, he might be the best chance they have at a deep playoff run.