With a need at wide receiver, K.J. Hamler would be a great first-round choice for the Green Bay Packers.
Hamler might not fit the mold of wide receivers Brian Gutekunst usually targets, but he’d give the Packers offense something different.
Hamler is only 5-foot-9, but he has lightning speed and is an explosive playmaker. The Packers desperately need a speedy receiver who can make big plays in the slot. Hamler could be the missing piece in Matt LaFleur’s offense.
Outside of Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, the Packers don’t have many game-changers on offense at the skill positions. Hamler can be exactly that with the speed to run past defenders and make huge plays.
Adams can line up everywhere as has shown he can dominate in the slot, but he’s also one of the best in the league on the outside. Many of the other Packers receivers are also best suited to line up on the outside, including new signing Devin Funchess.
But in Hamler, the Packers would have a receiver who can give defenses real problems from the slot. And that includes making big plays down the field. Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus wrote about his ability as a deep threat from the slot:
“The modern NFL passing game is trending toward vertical threats from the slot, and Hamler’s elite speed and quicks will play at the next level.”
In two years at Penn State, Hamler averaged almost 17 yards per reception and caught a total of 13 touchdowns.
He is also excellent at picking up yards the catch, able to make defenders miss and fly right by them if they don’t make the tackle in open space. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah wrote that Hamler “is a blur after the catch”.
Defenses would need to respect Hamler’s speed and yards-after-catch ability in the middle of the field. The passing offense wouldn’t need to go through Adams all the time and it would make life much easier for the Packers’ three-time Pro Bowl receiver.
Hamler’s size is a concern and he still needs to develop his game, but he would add speed to the Packers offense and could be a difference-making addition.