How would Odell Beckham Jr. change the Packers offense?

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

As Odell Beckham Jr. makes his mind up about who to sign for over the next few days, the hope among fans of the Green Bay Packers is steadily rising. Would the Packers actually make a big-time in-season acquisition of a star player?

Well Green Bay has put in an offer at least — the veteran minimum — for Beckham, and from the looks of things he won’t be getting many better deals elsewhere due to stipulations in his waived Cleveland Browns contract.

Many will concede that the Packers don’t necessarily need Odell Beckham Jr. He’d be a luxury for this offense, not a necessity.

The Packers’ receiving room is currently composed of four significant contributors and there’s not a whole ton of reasoning for adding a fifth capable starter. Regardless, the offer has been made, and if Beckham picks the Packers, Matt LaFleur must adjust his offense to accommodate the 3x Pro Bowler. Let’s take a look at what would change:

Does anyone know the order of the depth chart?

Sunday’s game in Kansas City was the first time in a while that all of the Packers wide receivers have been healthy. Therefore we had hoped to gain a good indication as to how the wide receiver depth chart shakes out.

However, both Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb played more snaps than Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who may have been on a snap count due to the hamstring injury which sidelined him for six weeks. So we aren’t really sure what the true order behind Davante Adams is right now.

I’d be pretty surprised if MVS continues to play less snaps than Cobb and Lazard, since he was considered to be the WR2 entering the season.

What we do know is that if Beckham comes to Green Bay, he would oust Valdes-Scantling for the role of WR2. That much is pretty evident. Odell will win the job over all of those guys any day of the week.

So there would be a decrease in snaps for all three guys behind OBJ, and even less for the poor Malik Taylors of the world.

Where would Odell line up?

I would imagine Odell would mostly line up in the outside Z receiver role on the Packers’ offense, on the opposite side from Davante Adams. It’s the position that was occupied by MVS for all of last season, and you’ll typically see this player running a lot of deeper routes while the X receiver (Davante Adams) is generally the primary read for the quarterback.

It would be interesting to see OBJ playing in the Z role. He’s always been the X WR in the offense. Beckham has been ‘the guy’ ever since his rookie year. How would his production change when he’s no longer the primary receiving threat on a down to down basis?

When MVS was injured, Allen Lazard plugged into this spot quite often. Obviously Lazard isn’t the deep threat that MVS is, and Matt LaFleur adjusted his play-calling to reflect that with a lot more underneath routes for Lazard.

I would imagine this trend would continue if OBJ occupies the position. His route-running is simply too crisp to be wasted on downfield nine routes all game long.

What would happen to MVS?

MVS typically plays less slot snaps than anybody else on the Packers, and you can’t just send arguably your second best receiver to the bench.

I’d imagine MVS would still heavily feature in the Packers offense. If you’re not going to take either Adams or OBJ off the field at any time, you could regularly feature one of them in the slot (preferably Adams), and keep MVS outside in his familiar Z receiver role, and Beckham would reclaim his familiar X role.

Of course Randall Cobb would and should remain the primary slot receiver, so ultimately they’d just be alternating between MVS and Cobb, and mixing around the alignments depending on who’s on the field.

Is Lazard at tight end a possibility?

The lone player left out in the above scenario is our beloved Allen Lazard. I’m sure he’d get a share of snaps in the rotation, particularly considering his effectiveness in the run game, but ultimately there’s only so much you can do as a WR5 in an offense that likes to feature two running backs.

What the Packers can do is kill two birds with one stone, and address the roster hole remaining at tight end following Robert Tonyan’s season-ending injury, with Lazard.

Marcedes Lewis is already in the fold, so Lazard’s blocking capabilities — no matter how good they are for a WR’s standards — can be protected. Lazard would line up much more in that tight slot role that Tonyan played a lot of.

Per Sharp Football Analysis, the Packers have passed out of 21 personnel (two tight ends) the third most of any team in the NFL this season. That’s how big of a role the tight ends have played in this passing offense, and LaFleur needs an answer at the position if he wants to keep calling those plays.

What kind of personnel could the Packers use?

On passing downs specifically, we saw the Packers play with much lighter personnel in Kansas City without Robert Tonyan.

Four WR sets are becoming slightly more featured across the league and it’s no different in Green Bay, especially when you have quality at the position.

When they’re in empty — especially with David Bakhtiari back to improve pass protection — it’s possible we could see five WR sets with Adams, OBJ, MVS, Cobb and Lazard all on the field. That would certainly be something.

The Packers have so many different skillsets in the one offense. A hammer like AJ Dillon, a do-it-all back like Aaron Jones, an incredible blocker like Marcedes Lewis, a true slot like Randall Cobb, a legit deep threat like MVS, and a Davante Adams — need I even give an adjective to describe him.

Matt LaFleur is surely salivating at the prospect of adding Odell Beckham into the fray. Hiding behind the mild grin he gave when asked about OBJ in press conferences is a man struggling to contain his excitement for how far his already great offense could push the boundaries.