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Countdown to camp: Packers trusting youth movement at receiver, tight end 

Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs look to keep the momentum going after impressive debuts

Packers WRs Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson
Packers WRs Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson

"Countdown to Camp" is a daily look at the Packers' roster, position by position, leading up to the start of training camp. The series continues with the receivers and tight ends.

GREEN BAY – With 113 NFL games played and just 27 starts among their 16 rostered receivers and tight ends, the Packers enter training camp with an unprecedently young collection of pass-catchers.

Returning second-year wideouts Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure are set to assume more responsibility after the departures of Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, while rookies Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft begin a massive transition at tight end.

In Watson, Doubs and Toure, the Packers have assembled a trio of wideouts as promising as they are inexperienced. Watson, in particular, was one of the NFL’s hottest rookies during the second half of the 2022 season.

Green Bay traded up in the second round last April to draft the 6-foot-4, 208-pound receiver 34th overall. Initially slowed by injuries, Watson caught 31 passes for 523 yards (16.9 yards per catch) and seven TDs over his last eight games. He also flashed his 4.36 speed on a 46-yard touchdown off a reverse against Chicago in Week 13.

Watson's explosiveness was balanced out by Doubs' overall consistency. A fourth-round pick from Nevada, Doubs looked the part from the start of the Packers' 2022 offseason program and carried that momentum through the beginning of the regular season.

The 6-foot-2, 204-pound receiver was the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Week after catching a season-high eight passes for 73 yards and a touchdown in a 14-12 win over Tampa Bay on Sept. 25. Doubs followed that with another TD grab in a 27-24 victory over New England the following week.

A freak foot injury suffered on the first play against Detroit in Week 9 sidelined Doubs for a month, but he returned with a five-catch, 55-yard outing in a 24-12 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 19.

Toure didn't play as often as his draft classmates but made the most of his limited opportunities. While Watson was being evaluated for a concussion against Buffalo in Week 8, Toure caught his first NFL touchdown on a 37-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers.

On the heels of a five-catch, 82-yard rookie campaign, the 6-foot-1, 191-pound receiver put on eight pounds this offseason to better position himself for a more prominent role in Green Bay's offense.

In lieu of a veteran free-agent acquisition, the Packers selected three receivers in the NFL Draft for the second straight year: Michigan State's Jayden Reed in the second round (No. 50), Virginia's Dontayvion Wicks in the fifth (No. 159) and Charlotte's Grant DuBose (No. 256) in the seventh.

The 5-foot-11, 187-pound Reed projects as an all-around playmaker who can play inside and outside, while also returning three punts for TDs during his college career. He ran a 4.45 time in the 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine and could be an option on the pre-snap jet sweeps recently popularized in the Packers' offense under Head Coach Matt LaFleur.

While Reed's best statistical season for the Spartans came in 2021, he became the bona fide No. 1 target in Michigan State's offense last year following the graduation of All-Big Ten running back Kenneth Walker, and Big Ten defenses planned accordingly.

The following is the third installment in a series of photos examining the Packers' roster position by position. This installment examines the receivers and tight ends.

Like Reed, Wicks’ best college season came as a junior when he shattered Herman Moore's single-season record at Virginia with 1,203 receiving yards on just 57 catches (21.1 yards per reception). The 6-foot-1, 206-pound receiver returned for his senior year, but his production dipped during the transition from coach Bronco Mendenhall to Tony Elliott.

Wicks caught 30 passes for 430 yards and two TDs before missing the final two contests with a bone bruise. Virginia then cancelled the remainder of its season due to the deaths of three football players in a school shooting.

DuBose, the 32nd and final receiver taken in this year's draft, enjoyed a prolific two-year run at Charlotte in which he caught 126 passes for 1,684 yards and 15 TDs. DuBose has yet to practice in a Packers uniform due to an undisclosed injury.

Prior to tripling down on wideouts, the Packers doubled down on tight ends during the second day of the NFL Draft when they picked Oregon State's Musgrave in the second round (No. 42) and South Dakota State's Kraft in the third (No. 78).

It was just the second time since 1970 the Packers selected two tight ends in the same draft, but the case for reinforcements was easy to make with Marcedes Lewis a free agent and Robert Tonyan now in Chicago.

The offense returns two fourth-year veterans in Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis, though their pass-catching responsibilities have been limited. Together, the two tight ends have combined for 47 receptions for 432 yards and two TDs in 76 games (seven starts).

Musgrave missed all but two games as a senior due to a knee injury but remained one of the top prospects at his position due to his athleticism for a 6-foot-5, 253-pound tight end. Musgrave's 1.54 10-yard split was the fastest among all tight ends at the combine.

Kraft exploded for 65 catches for 773 yards and six TDs as a redshirt sophomore in 2021 but was hampered by an ankle injury early last season. He finished with 27 catches for 348 yards and three TDs during South Dakota State's run to a Division I FCS national title.

Competing for spots at tight end are the 6-foot-8 Austin Allen, who signed to Green Bay's practice squad in Week 18, and undrafted rookie Camren McDonald. Looking to impress this summer in the receiver room are former seventh-round pick Bo Melton, 26-year-old Jeff Cotton, and undrafted rookies Malik Heath, Duece Watts, and Jadakis Bonds.

The 6-foot-3, 213-pound Heath made some splash plays this spring, including two impressive catches from rookie quarterback Sean Clifford during a successful two-minute period for the No. 3 offense on May 31.

The Packers signed Melton off Seattle's practice squad during the final two weeks of the season. A 5-foot-11, 189-pound wideout from Rutgers, Melton finished in the top 10 among receivers at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine in the 40 (4.34), three-cone drill (6.98) and vertical (38 inches).

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