Packers: 3 potential first-round targets at wide receiver

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

It is hard to believe after another incredible season from Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packers‘ biggest need is at the WR position.

If you disagree with this statement, look no further than Green Bay’s home playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Davante Adams had nine receptions on 11 targets for 90 yards. That’s a good day. However, the problem comes after Adams.

On this particular night, Aaron Jones had a big night receiving. He had nine receptions on 10 targets for 129 yards. It’s not a problem that Jones was the leading receiver in this game. But it is a problem that he was the team’s second-leading receiver in terms of receptions all season.

On the year, Jones hauled in 52 passes, second to Adams’ 123. The next closest WR was Allen Lazard with just 40 receptions. Lazard was second on the team with 513 receiving yards. The crazy thing is Adams still had over 1,000 more yards than Lazard (1,553).

This issue reared its big, ugly head in the loss to San Francisco. After Adams and Jones, only two other players caught passes. TE Marcedes Lewis caught one ball for no yards and then fumbled. Lazard caught a pass for six yards. That’s it. Once again, that is a massive problem.

Not only is the fact that there is no other true No. 1 WR on the roster that can help Adams, and Aaron Rodgers for that matter, out. But the entire WR room is a huge question mark. Although there are reports that the Packers, at worst, will use the franchise tag to keep Adams from hitting free agency, no deal is done yet.

There is a possibility that Randall Cobb could be cut due to his near-$10 million cap hit. Other starting WRs Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard are slated to both become free agents.

Rookie Amari Rodgers could not quite carve out a roll for himself last season due to a clogged WR room. In all likelihood, the previous WRs listed before Amari Rodgers will all be re-signed or will return on a re-negotiated deal. But the Packers need some help in that area of the roster.

They can go about this two ways. Free agency — which starts later this month — or the draft. Let’s explore the latter.

If the Packers are serious about addressing the WR position and finding a player that can win one-on-one like Adams, they need to find him in the first round.

Here are some possible players that Green Bay can look to draft at their spot at No. 28 or maybe trade up to get.

Ohio State WR Chris Olave

After running a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, it’s clear that the California native is the real deal. A good pro comparison would be Julian Edelman but faster and taller.

Standing at 6-1, Olave is big enough to the point where he can make contested catches and succeed with 50-50 balls. He is a clean route-runner with a very evident ability to break free from opposing coverage.

After his blazing speed showed up in a big way in Indianapolis, it is hard to envision him falling to No. 28, so Green Bay might have to trade up. But the Packers might be open to the idea after meeting with him on Monday.

USC WR Drake London

Standing at 6-5, London is a big play waiting to happen. A good pro comparison would be Chase Claypool or Mike Williams. His best fit would be a vertical pass offense. When you have Aaron Rodgers, big plays are the norm.

In 2020, Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling had the highest yard per catch number since DeSean Jackson in 2010. Big plays take place very often at Lambeau Field. London, who was a multi-sport athlete at USC, is a mismatch nightmare for DBs.

His ability to work back to the ball is also a big-time strength. Packers fans remember a guy with the last name Nelson, who made a living coming back to the ball when plays broke down. His 33-inch arms and 9 1/2-inch hands turn 50-50 balls into 70-30.

His 4.4-speed is nothing to snuff at either. Lining him up on the opposite side of Adams would be a dangerous proposition for any defense considering they would have to deal with London’s athleticism while having to worry about Adams’, well, everything else.

Clemson WR Justyn Ross

There is some injury concern with Ross, who missed all of 2020 with a neck injury. However, the upside far outweighs the downside with the Alabama native. Just go back and watch his highlight tape vs. Alabama in 2019.

His 6-4 height combined with his ball skills makes him incredibly dynamic. He excels in a play-action offense. When Matt LaFleur took over in Green Bay, he made it a point to become more of a running team with arguably the greatest QB ever at the helm.

Pro tip: A team that runs the ball a lot typically uses play-action to their advantage. With his reliable hands and strong leaping ability, his play-making ability is at an elite level already. Now imagine him in an offense that loves to use play-action and vertical passing game, that has Aaron Rodgers running the show, and that already has an experienced, superstar WR in Davante Adams who Ross can learn from.

He can line up in the slot or on the outside. His big body also makes it tough for defenders to bring him down in the open field. Ross is projected to be a late second-round pick by multiple mock drafts, but his upside makes him a first-round talent and gives him the potential to become a superstar in the NFL.

If the Packers are not going to bring help to the WR position in free agency, they must use April’s draft as a tool to help. These three players can add another intriguing layer to this offense and help take some of the weight off of Davante Adams’ shoulders.

This specific first-round pick for the Green Bay Packers definitely has Super Bowl implications. If they succeed, Packers fans can start purchasing plane tickets for Arizona for next February.