The Green Bay Packers had the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in 2020. Davante Adams made his fourth straight Pro Bowl while also being named a First Team All Pro. In addition, the Packers have Allen Lazard and Marques Valdez-Scantling on the roster. Each of them has potential to be legitimate second and/or third options behind Adams. However, the Packers have none of them under contract beyond this upcoming season. In fact, they have no wide receiver under contract after 2021. While they are likely to extend Adams and re-sign one (or both) of Lazard or MVS, it is clear the wide receiver depth is soon going to be an area of need for the Packers. The team, known for its foresight, will likely be targeting a wide receiver in the early rounds of the NFL Draft. Perhaps they may even look at taking one in the first round for the first time since 2002 (Javon Walker). If they do, here are three wide receivers who could be available when the Packers are on the clock.
Kadarius Toney- Florida
Kadarius Toney is an interesting draft prospect that could have an immediate impact on the Packers’ roster. He is 5’11 and weighs 193 pounds. This slim build led to his being taken down easily by a single defender, but also allowed him to run routes with great speed and agility. Toney has great balance and awareness on the field. Additionally, he has the awareness to make catches with his hands as opposed to against his body. This means that he does not drop many passes, which is an area in which Packers’ receivers struggled last season. Both Lazard and MVS had drop percentages close to 11%. Adding Toney in the Draft would greatly improve the catching percentages of the team as a whole.
In addition, Toney has the potential to play the role Tyler Ervin played in the offense. This player in Matt LaFleur’s system uses motion along the line of scrimmage to keep defenses off balance. Even though he may not receive a pass or handoff himself, he would open up opportunities for other players as the defense needs to respect the potential that he could.
Perhaps most importantly in 2021, Toney could act as the Packers’ return specialist. The Packers’ special teams has been historically bad for a while, and the return game is no exception. Adding a young, sure-handed wide receiver who could also return kicks and punts effectively might be too good of an option to pass up if Toney is on the board at pick 29.
Terrace Marshall Jr.- LSU
Terrace Marshall Jr. is a bit of a different breed of receiver than Kadarius Toney. At 6’2 and 205 pounds, he is a more physical receiver who exposes himself to and welcomes contact in the open field. Throughout his time at LSU, Marshall displayed his ability to catch contest balls, even with defenders draped on his back. Like Toney, he catches the ball away from his body, which leads to low drop rates.
The negative aspects of Marshall’s game are that he will, at times, take his eyes off the ball as he looks ahead in his route. This can lead to some drops as he has trouble picking the ball up if it is already in the air. Additionally, he does not display a quick burst in his game.
Despite these definciencies, Marshall has an enormous upside and is projected to be a solid number-two receiver in the NFL. With Adams entrenched as the Packers’ number one option, there is no need for him to be any more than that should the Packers take him. His tendency to use his hands to catch the ball, as well as his ability to make contested catches, may make him an intriguing option at pick 29.
Rondale Moore- Purdue
Perhaps the most exciting wide receiver prospect that could fall to the Packers late in the first round is Rondale Moore. Like Kadarius Toney, he is a bit undersized, standing 5’9 and weighing just 180 pounds. His size is a definite detriment to his game, and he often runs out of bounds instead of welcoming contact as he tries for extra yards at the end of plays.
That all being said, there are few wide receivers in this draft that are as explosive and exciting to watch as Rondale Moore. Like the previous two receivers mentioned, he does a great job of using his hands instead of his frame to catch the ball. Unlike the other two, though, he has a blazing burst once he catches the ball that makes him very difficult to tackle once he makes the catch in the open field.
His size and speed make him an ideal candidate for the same Tyler Ervin-like role that was discussed earlier. He is projected to be a great return specialist in the NFL, which is something the Packers desperately need. In addition, he displays intangibles as a receiver that could make him highly successful in the NFL. He comes back to the ball to make catches, tracks the ball well in the air, and makes adjustments to poorly thrown passes while also having the ability to come down with them. Of the three receivers, Rondale Moore may be the best of them and would be a very exciting player to watch in the Green and Gold.
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