Packer fans have spent time, angst and plenty of words lamenting the Packers’ choice not to draft a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL receiver rich draft. The Packers are 4-0 and lead the league in scoring. The wins and points have lessened the sting, but the loss of the team’s top two receivers keeps the conversation simmering on the back burner. Much of the conversation is hypothetical. To really know what the Packers gave up at receiver for Jordan Love and A.J. Dillon we need to review the 5 game sample of every receiver Packers passed on in the first three rounds.
Thirty Five receivers were selected in the 2020 draft. An NFL record 13 wide receivers were drafted in the first two rounds alone. The Las Vegas Raiders picked 3 in the first two rounds, which could have influenced why the Packers failed to draft a pass catcher; a failure to predict how many teams ahead of them would invest multiple draft picks at the position.
The Packers traded up to pick Love at 26. The first WR was taken at 12 by the Raiders (Henry Riggs III). By the time the Packers picked in round one, 5 wideouts were off the board. Lamenting about the Packers not drafting the first 5 receivers drafted is wasted effort, the 13-3 Packers had no shot at these players. The truth is, all the first round WR picks were gone by the time the Packers came to the podium with the 26th pick. No team after the Packers picked a WR in the first round.
The first pick of round two began another run on receivers. Seven receivers went prior to AJ Dillon to the Packers with the 28th pick. Four more wideouts went between Dillon and Josiah Deguara in the third. No WR was picked in round three after the Packers selection. So who did the Packers pass on and are those players producing and contributing more on Sunday (or in this crazy season Tuesday, Monday or Thursday) for their teams?
Round 2 WR picks:
(2:1) Tee Higgins: Higgins has had highs and lows in his first 5 games. In the Bengals first win in game 3, he caught 4 passes on 7 targets. His long was 30 yards, He also had one run for 13 yards. He has established himself as the Bengals #2 receiver behind Tyler Boyd.
Higgins totals are 12 catches (101st in league) for 152 yards (76th) and 2 TD’s. The biggest complaint is that it has taken 22 targets to get those 12 catches. While that stat can also be a product of bad QB play, Burrow has been very accurate.Boyd has 28 receptions on 34 targets.
While Higgins has displayed the same size/speed combination that intrigued scouts, there are still questions on his route running and catching contested catches that will require him to develops his skill set.
(2:2) Michael Pittman Jr. has played 3 games and is the 5th leading receiver for the Colts with 9 catches on 12 targets. He has not caught a touchdown. His longest catch is 16 yards. Pittman Jr. was billed as one of the most NFL ready receivers in the class, coming from a pro-style offense at USC. He is currently dealing with an injury diagnosed as “compartment leg syndrome” which is bleeding inside a muscle, often from a fracture that can cause nerve damage. He has not played since September 27th.
(2:10) Laviska Shenault Jr. has played in all 5 games for the Jaguars and has become their top receiver with 23 catches on 28 targets. He has 1 TD catch and 270 total yards. In his last game Shenault Jr. caught 7 passes for 79 yards on 8 targets. His longest pass was a 25 yard catch. Showing the versatility to play multiple positions as he did in college, he has also totaled 53 yards on 9 running plays.
(2:14) K.J. Hamler started the season for the Broncos with a hamstring injury. He has caught 6 total passes on 12 targets in just two games. Hamler returned one kickoff for 18 yards. He did not catch a pass in their last game and there are rumors he will be placed on injured reserve.
(2:17) Chase Claypool is starting to put up numbers for the Steelers. In his last game against the Eagles, Claypool caught 7 passes on 11 targets for 110 yards and 3 TD’s. Claypool has totaled 13 catches on 20 targets for 261 yards. That’s correct mathematicians, over 20 yards a catch. He also has a rushing TD as part of his 5 touchdowns.
(2:25) Van Jefferson started strong but is beginning to fade for the Rams. His 5 total catches came in the first two games and he has been shut out in their last three games with only 2 targets. Jefferson had foot sit before the draft but seems fully recovered.
(2:27) Denzel Mims has not made a catch and has been placed on IR due to multiple hamstring injuries.
Four receivers were picked in the third round after the Packer picked A.J. Dillon. Antonio Gibson (Memphis), Lynn Bowden (Kentucky), Bryan Edwards (S. Carolina), and Devin Duvernay (Texas)
Gibson played both RB and some wide receiver in college but now is listed as a RB by Washington. He has 55 carries for 213 yards and 15 receptions on 17 targets.
Bowden has only one catch for -1 yards. He also has 9 rushing yards in 4 carries. He has played in three games. Bowden was drafted by the Raiders after playing QB at Kentucky but was traded after having a “rough camp” according to Raider insiders.
Bryan Edwards had a good camp for the Raiders and in 3 games has 5 catches on 6 targets for 99 yards and a long pass catch of 34. Edwards is nursing an ankle injury that has kept him out the past two games.
Duverney has 7 receptions on 9 targets but has filled up the stat sheet with his legs. He has 237 kick return yards, taking one back for a touchdown. He also has a 42 yard run. That totals 339 all purpose yards.
While the Packers hoped to cover their missed opportunities in the draft by signing Devin Funchess and Reggie Begelton, that plan has produced absolutely nothing for the Packers to date. Packer fans have to hope that Davante Adams and Allen Lazard mend quickly and that MVS continues to improve. At this point there are no other draft options until 2021.
Fine Analysis. Gutekunst’s draft omissions in 2019 were arguably even more suspect. I begged the Pack to go after D.K. Metcalf, one of the most athletic players to ever play the game. Despite his athleticism and great college career, every NFL team passed him by until the Seahawks selected him late in the second round, at the 64th overall choice. Metcalf finished his rookie season with 58 catches for 900 yards and seven TDs – and he had a great postseason too. To date in 2020, Metcalf ranks third in receiving yardage (496), first in average yards per catch (22.5), and tied for third in TDs (5). Along with Russell Wilson, the two double-handedly were the reason for Seattle’s miracle comeback against the Vikings over the weekend. The Packers had the 62nd draft choice in 2019 – and they still passed on Metcalf. Last December 8, I concluded a post with this warning: “Mark my words: D.K. Metcalf will become an All-Pro, and will come to haunt the Packers for the next decade or more.”
Correcting myself, the Packers passed on Metcalf three times in the 2019 draft, the last being the 44th overall pick, when they chose center/guard Elgton Jenkins.
Yea Rob, that guy is for real, as are most of if not all of this years first round receiver picks.
The only thing with Metcalf is he needs to improve his catch rate if i remember right, but even with that, he’s a game changer.
A few randoms…..
It shouldn’t be shocking there weren’t wr’s taken in the 1st round after the Packers picked, they picked 26th.
While it’s true that 5 receivers were taken in the 1st round before the Packers pick. It is NOT true they had no shot at drafting any of them. I shouldn’t need to explain that.
To examine who the Packers could have drafted in one draft is fair i guess.
The more complete examination imo….. is why haven’t the Pack spent any resources replacing Nelson, and/or Cobb? By real i mean…free agency, draft picks, trades, moving up in the draft.
Since 2018, when Gutes first move as GM was kicking Jordy to the street (strike one). What has been done to replace that TD scoring machine? Let’s see…Jimmy Graham (strike two). Sent Cobb packing. Drafted 3 receivers in mid to late rounds in 2018….(we’re still waiting for that to bear fruit here in 2020. If MVS doesn’t start making that 3rd year leap, do we really need to discuss a possible 4 year leap, or does reality set in?
OH…wait…i know!!! Out of 240 million plus spent on free agents, Gute generously designated 2 million (0.83%) of that to sign low level hanging fruit Devin Funchess to bolster our receivers
Well at least he tried amirite?
Thank God we didn’t miss out on Josh Jackson, Darnell Savage, Rashan Gary, Jordan (Gutes in) Love. AJ Dillon (couldn’t resist taking him, we needed help back there).
Maybe i should reconsider Gutes vision in drafting Rashan Gary. Maybe…and i’m not saying he is…but maybe, Gary is a better player than Michelin Man Preston Smith as he is starting to look more and more like a Jimmy Graham deal. (strike ten).
Also, looking at those 2nd round picks….excluding Claypool (who looks like a future #1 or a strong #2) with the Steelers and Mims who is on IR.
The rest of the teams that drafted those other receivers are a combined 6-17-1. Most sitting at the bottom of the League offensively.
My point being, just because they are not productive on low scoring losing teams, does not mean you can assume or imply they wouldn’t be productive on a team like the Packers, Steelers, Saints, Chiefs, Seahawks, Cowboys, Raiders, etc. Being a lawyer i think you can understand that.
Regardless…i enjoy your articles.
Bills got Gabriel Davis from UCF (My Alma-Mater) in the 4th Rd. Now that was a good pick. Kid is a player. Gute should have called me. Could have picked him in the 4th…oh wait they traded that pick for a 3rd string QB that may never start in GB.
That reminds me of a movie line…Oh wait, instead of $100M I’ve got a better idea, instead of $100M how about I send you a hobo’s dick cheese?
Chase Claypool matches the profile that the packers like for big WR or smaller TEs. He would have fit in nicely. Very valuable in this run/pass offense that makes the defense defend both at the same time. The bigger WR guys can block or catch the ball depending on how the defense shows their hand.
Agree with Claypool Dean. Before the draft there were three receivers I thought the Packers should go after, and Claypool was one of them. I, in part, said the following about receivers:
Howard April 23, 2020
I think if WR- Jefferson is still around at 30 or with a small move up that is the pick…. If neither of those two choices are available then I think the Packers trade into the early second and try to get Aiyuk or Claypool….
Obviously neither Jefferson or Aiyuk were available, but the Packers to me would have been wise to trade down and grab Claypool. The reason I thought Aiyuk might be available in the second round was because of his off season core muscle injury/surgery.
To me Claypool would take advantage of most corners size/height. Then would go past bigger safeties. In addition Claypool appeared to be a team first player for ND. Claypool played a lot on STs for ND, and not as a returner. How often do you see that with college stars, and Claypool wanted to play STs. Claypool has very good size, good speed, doesn’t mind doing the dirty work, and blocks well. Claypool would have been a good fit for the Packers with a trade down into the second round.
I mean, they are by far the best offense in the league by virtually all metrics and it isn’t even close. System is better than players. This offense is currently better than the 2011 edition that featured an Aaron Rodgers in his prime, and better talent at receiver. Let’s not forget that ESB is coming back and he is a perfect fit for this style of offense. He will probably play out of the slot and he probably has the best run after the catch ability out of any receiver on the team. Certainly better than Lazard and MVS. The coaching staff is high on him. The one thing working against him is availability.
If I have one complaint, it isn’t about them not drafting a receiver, it’s about them not getting an ILB. Maybe Kamal Martin will be that guy, idk. They certainly like him. But I am far more worried about that position than anything on the GB offense currently
@Kato it’s also the fact we have terrible depth on the D line & really no one outside of Clark who can make a difference (I know Keke had 1 good game – think we should hold off opinions there though). Not having star power or at least solid depth in the D line AND MLB position groups is a recipe to have the ball crammed down your throat in the run game…not that we’ve ever had a problem with that amirite?!? /s
NobodysBurfect I don’t disagree in the slightest. I don’t understand the complaints about not drafting a WR, given how historically good the offense has been. I, like you, am more concerned with the defense. A defensive lineman or linebacker might have put the defense over the top seeing as how they can rush the passer well and are decent on the back end (they have allowed the second fewest TD passes in the NFL).
Ok…looks like some voice of reason is needed.
First of all…Kato.
I think you wrote….”Let’s not forget that ESB is coming back and….”
Coming back….when? I have a calendar handy, so i’m ready to mark it down. He hasn’t been on the field since 2018……..but…he’s coming back and he’s perfect for the Packers? WHEN?
He doesn’t have any best run ability after the catch….that entails he’s on the field catching passes. Your taking your opinions based from what …2018?
The coaching staff is high on ESB you say? If you listen to the coaching staff they are also high on Josh Jackson, Oren Burks, Montravias Adams.
Lets put the brakes on comparing this offense to the 2011 offense. That’s an insult to the 2011 offense.
This offense has done it for 4 games, 25% of the season. Against teams with a combined 5-14 record.
The 2011 offense sustained it for 16 games. Lets not take this team, 4 games, 3 sad teams and declare this team “currently” better than the 2011 offense….C’MON MAN!
Who knows…maybe ESB can get on the field, and get his first TD pass before his rookie contract is over.
That artwork at the bottom of your message shows real talent.
The rest of you express your genius in your writings, i express mine in my art.
A wise man plays to his strengths.
I appreciate the sincere compliment.
I do like your artwork too. And that is a sincere compliment.
Who on the Packers roster now is better at running after the catch at the receiver position? Maybe Davante Adams? That’s a big maybe. It’s not Allen Lazard, it’s certainly not MVS. Just looking back at tape from 2018 tells me that ESB is. Like you said, he needs to be on the field. Would it have been inaccurate to suggest that Matthew Stafford was the best QB on the Lions roster going into 2011 after he missed most of his first two years with injuries? Injuries happen. I am simply saying he has the skillset and has shown it on film. He will likely be playing out of the slot.
Injuries are surely part of it. But since when does a high ankle sprain that happened before the season, become season ending?
Then….i don’t hear his name brought up at all in camp. Although i ask, no one seems to know anything.
Game 1 this season….ESB is not on the injury report. But…he isn’t on the active roster either. That’s usually not a good sign.
Then the phantom knee injury and back he goes on IR. Maybe he slipped and fell in his kitchen….idk.
What i do know….there is more going on there than just injuries. Lets just say…..i’m wrong…and it is because of injuries. He comes back and starts being very productive. I’ll be very happy.
BUT……..my mantra regarding the Packers i adapted some years ago i will stick with…..
Show me, don’t tell me.
Where have the Packers failed to have an adequate supply of capable receivers here.
Our receivers were learning a new system last year, under a new Coach and system.
Drafting a receiver suggests that a green # 1 or 2 rookie receiver would be better than a receiver that has now gained valuable experience, and now has greater potential to play in the system, then some raw new rookie again. Our receivers were rookies last year, in this system. So what is it that makes this years rookie class, so much better or more game ready?
THE ANSWER IS NOTHING !
We got a pair of brutes in AJ Dillon and Josiah Deguara, I can hardly wait till they have had a bit of learning and experience in Matt LaFleur’s system. The Packers had a great draft ! They picked some players to train and play for and in the future. The team was deep at the receiver position, and saw the benefit of picking up Devin Funchess as both insurance and having good potential. So why are there so many of these doorknobs thinking that the team made a big mistake in not spending these excellent picks on another green and still unproven rookie ? It could be because they don’t understand what and how their GM and Head Coach are building. It’s like this, Mike McCarthy has left the building, and the days of the entire offense riding solely on the arm of Aaron Rodgers has come to pass. Bombs Away To Win, is no longer necessary, and or obvious to opponents.
Other than another run stuffer on the line in the middle of the defense, this team does not look like it’s lacking much anywhere.
We simply didn’t need another green horn untrained inexperienced wide receiver.
Go Pack Go ! …🏈 …🧀🐀
Tell us more on how Cousins is a top 5 QB again.
“Mike McCarthy has left the building, and the days of the entire offense riding solely on the arm of Aaron Rodgers has come to pass.” – Steve
Aaron Rodgers (after a bye) week has thrown 13 TD passes, tied for 3rd in the league. Doing so with the 2 QB’s ahead of him playing an extra game.
The Packers run game currently has 4 TD’s and citing our defense so far this season, you’re a damn fool if you think the Packers success doesn’t ride on the arm of Aaron Rodgers.
As long as Rodgers is in Green Bay, the Packers success depends on the arm of Aaron Rodgers and it always will. Just like it depended on the arm of Brett Favre.
The Success of the Packers depended on the arm of 2 QB’s the last 28 years and counting.
As far as your theory on our wide receiver group, i think my point has been made without piling on.
It isn’t solely on the arm of Aaron Rodgers. The offensive system deserves some credit. The offensive line deserves a ton of credit. To date, they are the top O Line through five weeks combining pass block win percentage and run block win percentage. The ground game is in the top 5 in the NFL. Without the success of the ground game, do you think Rodgers would be having the success he is having now? We knew years ago that MM needed to run the ball more and take a load off Rodgers shoulders, and MAKE IT EASIER to throw the ball. Aaron Jones is on pace for 1500 yards. How does that make this solely on Rodgers? Last year they went to the NFC championship game mostly on the shoulders of a running game and defense. Yes Rodgers is having a great year, and it’s refreshing to see him accurate again and actually playing within the system and buying in. I am glad, because I don’t think they can reach the super bowl without him playing well.
Allright….if you have read my past post, i have on multiple times gave credit to LeFleur and crew for the new playcalling. This should also be proof that it was our shitty stale predictable offense under McCarthy holding the team back.
The fact that the new plays get credit, doesn’t remove the fact success still falls on Rodgers shoulders…LeFleur or Hackett aren’t coming in there and throwing all those dimes, they aren’t throwing all those TD passes. They aren’t putting up top 3 passing numbers. they aren’t throwing 13 TD’s vs 0 interceptions. A HOF QB IS DOING THAT.
Don’t imply that it’s the new system, as if…..all the system needs is a QB who is a good game manager.
You yourself said….” I don’t think they can reach the super bowl without him playing well.”
Well….doesn’t that mean their success depends on him?
A new system is fantastic….probably 4 or 5 years too late. But someone still has to run it and make it work.
Also, don’t forget, Rodgers was/is highly involved with implementing this new offense with LeFleur and Hackett, per LeFleur.
I’ll say it again and everyone could disagree with me and that’s fine,
Since 1992 until Rodgers retires or leaves. This team fails or succeeds on the arm of two HOF QB’s….period.
This defense, a new offense, and a game manager QB aren’t winning a damn thing in Green Bay without Rodgers.
Saying Green Bay had a great draft is getting a little carried away although I agree that Dillon and Deguara are very intriguing, and on the short term will do more for the team than a rookie WR that Rodgers won’t throw to, but not sure most of us will get over moving up for a project QB any time soon. Either way the first quarter season has been pretty fuckin sweet, and having a good spare RB feels like a luxury after the last 10 years. In my opinion this is the best Rodgers has ever looked and there have been several teams win over the last few years with no name WRs with a solid run game and stud QB. Just need one or 2 of our no name linebackers to work out haha.
I pop in here, and i just can’t believe how much i learn. I’m humbled
Thank you …everyone
What have i learned…let’s see.
I learned that Dequara and Dillion will do more in the short term than some 1st or 2nd round rookie receiver that Rodgers won’t throw to.
Sure….someone could foolishly could say…..Dequara has one catch, and Dillon has 8 rushing attempts for 34 yards.
Just as foolish…. they could say that our last receiver we drafted in the 2nd round had 66 pass attempts with 38 catches as a ROOKIE.
Thankfully….the more i read, the smarter i become. Luckily, i have a good memory to retain most of this newfound knowledge that i learn.
Lets see…what else have i learned…..The Packers were deep at wide receiver before the draft……I’m embarrassed to admit this but…. as a 30 some year plus Packer fan, i didn’t even know that. Go figure.
Well…what else?….i learned a 6th round 6’5″ receiver will soon be back lighting it up for the Packers as a slot receiver. I can buy that.
The next dumb thing i’d have probably said is put 20 lbs on him and make him a tight end. Leave it to me to say stupid shit like that.
It’s no secret i’m learning……For laughs, want to know some of the dumb things i’ve said over the years…..I’ve said for years that Rodgers is losing it. I caught a lot of grief over those remarks.
I’ve even said Rodgers has lost it, and he should be benched for a 5th round backup…lol….omg i get so silly sometimes.
Some fans who knew better gave me grief over those remarks.
I think i’ve learned my lesson on that….lol.
I could write a book on the dumb shit things i’ve said in here, or explain all that i’ve been able to learn in here, but most of you probably get the jist.
Did you run out of Xanax again? Davante put up 450 yards as a rookie then was terrible for a year (where most people on here called for his head) making him not so useful until year 3. Did you watch how Deguara was being used before he got hurt? Dillon has 8 carries averaging 4.2 yards, is that because he’s no good or do we happen to have the best back in the league right now and a very solid backup ahead of him, therefore (possibly) the luxury to let him develop until he’s needed when it gets cold or Jones gets hurt? You have no fucking idea nor do I, but this years offence has been pretty sweet to watch. No one is saying the packers are deep at WR but a hall of fame QB should be able to work with less than perfect WRs, personally I’d rather see a decent linebacker for once this decade. Sadly as a packers fan I’m getting used to wasted first round picks.
“No one is saying the packers are deep at WR……”
October 15, 2020
“The team was deep at the receiver position…….”
I don’t do drugs, and i don’t write things i can’t back up….you?
Thanks for trying though.
BTW…on Adams, the REASON, i wrote about how many attempts Adams got, was because of a comment made that drafting a receiver high was a waste because he stated Rodgers wouldn’t throw to him.
Adams was a 2nd round pick and he got plenty of throws.
If you read comments, especially if someone is directing a comment to someone, you might find that there was actually a reason it was brought up, and in what context it makes sense in.
I’m sorry if i’m being a dick, but do i have to explain in fucking detail, defending everything i write?
Read the shit …think…and figure it out without my guidance..
Peter is a pretty good follow and he tends to be right about a lot of things Packers football related btw.
Fantastic….lets see it.
I’ll say this Kato…after watching some of those video’s.
He looks one hell of a lot faster than MVS unless the video is fast
But..again…it doesn’t matter if your sitting on your couch.
I just don’t get MVS reputation as a speedster or his sub 4 40 time.
It’s a shame they can’t just play in shorts.
Haha yeah, unfortunately there is track speed and football speed. MVS can run, but as you have mentioned a few times, it’s straight line speed and DBs know this. If there is no chance of him putting a double move on you or anything like that, I am turning my hips and start running almost immediately. MVS lacks any change it direction speed or suddenness in his steps unfortunately. I like him and he seems like a good guy, but I have pretty much given up on him as anything more than a guy that is respected for his deep speed. He isn’t a threat to break tackles and run like a running back, he isn’t a jump ball guy despite his good vertical numbers from the combine, he isn’t a guy that’s going to burn NFL corners often on short and intermediate routes. He just is what he is at this point. As Bukowski said in his article, ESB first has to prove he is going to be dependable in his route running in this offense in practice. I think he could be useful in the jet sweep role, as that’s something fairly easy for him to do, maybe give him the ball once or twice to get him back in the groove. Maybe a few simple routes. I don’t think he instantly goes in and makes a big difference. But assuming he doesn’t have an injury setback and gets more reps, I think he could be important the second half of the season and give the offense a different dimension
You hit it right on the head Kato. MVS has no moves, no cuts, no fakes, almost bankrupt of any shake.
Again…there is a reason that a tall speedy WR with length goes in the 6th round. The Packers rolled the dice on him knowing his limitations, or….thinking they could coach him up. See Jeff Janis.
Yes, it is possible players taken late can be coached up and find success (see Donald Driver).
But it’s rare.