When the Packers traded Davante Adams in March for the Las Vegas Raiders, it left a huge void at the wide receiver position. Don’t tell that to Aaron Rodgers, who although won’t deny losing Adams is difficult, feels Allen Lazard is ready to jump into the WR1 role. After all, Rodgers has been a big fan of Lazard’s since his first training camp in 2019.
Lazard was not running reps with the first team, but Rodgers noticed number 13 making all kinds of plays and needed to see him go against some first and second-string players. Now three years later and Lazard could make the jump to be Rodgers’ go-to guy.
At 6-foot-5 and 227 pounds, Lazard has all the size to create havoc against defensive backs. His 40-catch season last year with eight touchdowns was a career best. The Packers organization has seen a steady increase in his play since they picked him up off the Jaguars’ practice squad late in 2018.
Running back Aaron Jones has high expectations for Lazard being a number one receiver. He’s a great run blocker and can get deep as well as run the crossing routes in the middle of the field and battle defenders to make tough catches. Jones is elated that Lazard is getting his chance after putting in the hard work of the last few seasons.
Lazard had a very unusual off season to prepare for his big chance. He didn’t sign his restricted free agent contract until after minicamp and stayed at home in Iowa. He was preparing possibly to go back to his roots and into free agency where it all started.
It didn’t take long for Rodgers and Lazard to get on the same page when camp started, with Lazard being Rodgers’ first target, finding him often. Despite being the frontrunner for the job, the Packers will make Lazard earn it. They already have Sammy Watkins, Amari Rogers, Juwan Winfree, as well as draft picks Christian Watson, and Romeo Doubs in the mix. Injury issues to Watson and Watkins make it a longshot for them to push Lazard.
Lazard’s Future with the Packers
While Lazard likely will be the primary target in the passing game this season, don’t expect him to see the number of targets that Adams got last season, which averaged over 10 per game. Lazard realizes this to be the case since Adams is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL today. However, Lazard believes he’s learned a lot from Adams and isn’t too far behind him and expects his fair share of targets this season.
A big season from Lazard could earn him a huge contract next offseason. He’s been on the field after practice and worked hard with the other young receivers and rookies. Not only is Lazard getting work in, he’s taken a bit of a leadership role and letting the younger receivers know what they should be doing.
It’s all part of being a WR1 and Lazard is off to a great start — showing that he is ready for the role for this season and beyond.