It doesn’t require a statistical analysis: we all know that throughout the Mike McCarthy-Ted Thompson era our Packers were one of the slowest teams in the league, and especially so concerning its receiving corps. It’s also apparent to one’s eyes that in his three years as Packers GM, Brian Gutekunst has made a focused effort to acquire speedy players. Better yet, Coach LaFleur and his staff have been finding ways to effectively utilize that speed on the field.
I happened upon a chart put out by the NFL’s Next Gen Stats group that listed the “Fastest Ball Carriers,” and when these times were recorded, in Week 1. Topping the list were the 49ers’ (and Packers’ nemesis) Raheem Mostert, with a speed of 22.73 mph during a 76-yard TD reception, and the Chiefs’ L’jarius Sneed, on a 39-yard interception.
Here’s how Green Bay offensive players fared on this Top-20 list:
#3, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 21.11, on a 45-yard TD reception
#13 Tyler Ervin, 20.29, on a 21-yard rush
#14 Allen Lazard, 20.27, on a 19-yard rush
#16 Davante Adams, 20.11, on a 40-yard reception
Other notables on the list were: ex-Badger Jonathan Taylor (IND) at #4 and #6; DK Metcalf (SEA) at #8, and Marquise Brown (BAL) at #11. Brown, who missed the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine due to an injury, had last year’s fastest NGS time of 22 mph. I had urged the Packers to draft Metcalf in 2019 and Taylor in 2020 – Taylor was the 41st overall choice, and Metcalf was taken 64th.
Speed is in large part a gift of youth: Taylor is 21, Metcalf is 22, and Brown and Sneed are 23. Green Bay’s comparatively mature receivers, however, are holding their own against the youngsters:
Regarding MVS, wouldn’t you agree that he looked fast, though not lightning fast, on his 45-yard gallop? He’s got that long stride that renders him deceptively fast – his Combine dash time was a blazing 4.37 seconds.
Based on this data, it’s likely we’ll see Aaron Rodgers throwing lots of deep balls this season, and I’m also looking forward to more of those end-arounds and jet sweeps that worked so well for Green Bay last Sunday.