The Green Bay Packers’ offense will certainly look a lot different in 2022. Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are both gone. Both were top three wide receivers in the Green Bay passing game last year. To replace them, the Packers signed Sammy Watkins in free agency and drafted three wide receivers in the NFL Draft. With so many questions about who will step up in 2022, The Draft Network made a stunning prediction that two young wide receivers are the best poised for a breakout season: Amari Rodgers and Christian Watson.
Can Amari Rodgers Breakout After a Disappointing 2021 Season?
When the Green Bay Packers made Amari Rodgers their third round draft pick in 2021, there were plenty of high expectations surrounding his addition to the team. His connection to Randall Cobb, who was coached by Rodgers’ father at Kentucky, had fans thinking that he would be a younger version of the beloved fan-favorite.
That did not happen. Rodgers struggled mightily in his rookie season, catching just four passes for 45 yards. He also lost his job as the Packers’ kick and punt returner.
That being said, there is renewed hype surrounding the second-year player now in 2022. His mentor, Cobb, had high praise for Rodgers during the team’s voluntary team activities earlier this offseason. Additionally, the absence of Adams and MVS will give him more opportunities in the offense.
In his article for The Draft Network, Ryan Fowler wrote this about Rodgers:
“An above-average athlete with outstanding short-area quickness, although Rodgers was relegated to more of a special teams role in his first season with Adams, Valdes-Scantling, and Lazard holding down the fort on the perimeter, teams don’t use third-round picks on pass-catchers to return kicks. Not for long, at least. LeFleur expects him to be heavily involved this fall, and for you fantasy gurus out there, I wouldn’t be shocked if he finds himself involved early and often in the Packers’ game plan from Week 1.”
This would certainly be a welcomed development for the Green Bay Packers. Randall Cobb may be playing his last year of football, let alone his last year in Green Bay. The Packers drafted Rodgers because they viewed him as the ideal slot receiver in their offense. Hopefully, that is what he will become.
Can Christian Watson Be the Deep Threat the Packers Hope He Will Be?
Of course, the main wide receiver the Packers are hoping to replace in 2022 is Davante Adams. Last season, Adams led the Packers with 169 targets, 123 receptions, 1,553 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Obviously, the Packers will not get just one player to put up those kinds of numbers this season. The best they can hope for are jumps in production from various wide receivers.
That being said, Christian Watson is a better suitable replacement for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. MVS is a blazing fast receiver and a legitimate down-field threat (he had a 0.0% drop rate in 2021). This is where Christian Watson excels as well. Playing at North Dakota State University did not give him many opportunities to showcase this skill, though. It was a run-first offense much like that at the University of Wisconsin.
After getting off to a slow start at Packers OTA’s, Watson bounced back and has garnered much praise from his teammates, including Jaire Alexander. Notably, Watson turned a lot of heads in the short time he got to practice with Aaron Rodgers during mandatory minicamp.
In his article on potential breakout players, Fowler came just shy of calling Watson the next Randy Moss:
While I’ll hold off on comparing the second-round pick to one of the greatest wideouts to ever strap up in Moss, microscoping Watson as a potential high-volume receiver in year one isn’t rocket science—Green Bay will rely on him early in 2022. Although it’s been difficult at times for Watson to maneuver out of his own way this spring, struggling with drops during offseason team activities, we’ve been through this before—if you’re looking for someone to overreact to a few drops in May practices, you won’t find it here.
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