Packers’ receiving depth should give Jordan Love options even if nobody emerges as No. 1 target

Green Bay Packers' Jayden Reed runs a drill during an NFL football OTA Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love might not have a clear-cut No. 1 receiver among his plethora of potential targets.

But he has so many options that he doesn’t believe it’s necessary that one stand out.

“I think it’s a good problem to have, and I think you don’t have to have a No. 1 receiver,” Love said. I think it works out well when you can spread the ball out and you got different guys making different plays and you can put them in different areas.”

The Packers had a different player lead the team in yards receiving in each of their final five regular-season games last year. All five – tight end Tucker Kraft, Dontayvion Wicks, Romeo Doubs, Bo Melton and Jayden Reed – remain with the team.

That doesn’t include Christian Watson, who has caught 12 touchdown passes over his first two seasons despite missing 11 games due to hamstring issues.

The balance of Green Bay’s receiving corps represents a major change from the way it was not long ago, when Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams formed one of the league’s most productive tandems.

In his final year with the Packers, Adams had 123 catches for 1,553 yards – both franchise records. No other Packer had more than 52 catches or 513 yards receiving.

When Green Bay traded Adams to Las Vegas in 2022 and dealt Rodgers to the New York Jets the following year, the Packers used the draft capital from those moves to restock the receiving position.

They took Watson in the second round, Doubs in the fourth round and Samori Toure in the seventh round of the 2022 draft. One year later, they drafted Reed and tight end Luke Musgrave in the second round, tight end Tucker Kraft in the third, Wicks in the fifth and receiver Grant DuBose in the seventh.

Last year marked the first time that the Packers had four rookies (Reed, Wicks, Musgrave and Kraft) catch at least 30 passes. Musgrave and Kraft were just the second rookie tight end tandem since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger – joining New England’s 2010 duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez – to each have at least 30 catches, 350 yards receiving and one touchdown reception.

That depth explains why Packers coach Matt LaFleur says he doesn’t think it really matters whether the team has a go-to guy.

“I feel really good about the collective unit,” LaFleur said. “The hardest part is we feel so good about them, it’s hard to get everybody the amount of touches that you’d like to get, but that’s a good problem to have.”

The Packers do have a few No. 1 candidates.

Reed is coming off a rookie season in which he caught 64 passes for 793 yards, topping the Packers in both categories and setting a franchise rookie record for receptions. Reed had eight touchdown catches – tying Doubs for the team lead – and scored twice on runs from scrimmage.

The only other players ever to have eight-plus touchdown catches and multiple touchdown runs as rookies were Ray Ramsey in 1947 and Chase Claypool in 2020.

“Really I wasn’t fully confident until probably the end of the season,” Reed said. “I’m definitely at a different stage now. I’m looking forward to what can happen this year.”

Watson scored eight touchdowns during a spectacular four-game run in his rookie season but he was limited to nine games last season. He’s hopeful that his hamstring issues are behind him.

“I’ve been feeling really good,” Watson said. “I’ve just got to continue to build on that and continue to get that strength up, just keep on going.”

Doubs had 10 catches for 234 yards – 168 yards more than any of his teammates – in the Packers’ two playoff games last season.

Other receivers also have shown promise.

Melton, who spent most of last season on the practice squad, had six catches for 105 yards in a critical late-season triumph at Minnesota. Wicks had two touchdown catches in a victory over the Chicago Bears that sent Green Bay to the playoffs.

Love believes the Packers will be in good shape.

“I think all those guys can step up and be the one any given day,” Love said.


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