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Countdown to camp: Plenty of quality, productive options at receiver/tight end for Packers

Young, deep positions look to grow and shine

WR Jayden Reed
WR Jayden Reed

"Countdown to camp" is a position-by-position overview of the Packers' roster heading into training camp. The series continues with the wide receivers and tight ends.

GREEN BAY – Depth is abundant for the Packers at the pass-catching positions, which remain young and on the rise.

At wide receiver, Green Bay begins training camp with 11 on the roster, none entering more than his third year in the NFL, and seven of whom have made significant contributions in game action during their young careers.

How the hierarchy at the top of the depth chart will sort itself out in 2024 is to be determined, and the Packers aren’t concerned about pegging anyone in particular as Jordan Love’s No. 1 guy.

What is clear is the top four, at this point and in whatever order, are Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks.

Watson (6-4, 208) is a constant deep threat who has gone on touchdown binges in each of his first two NFL seasons, scoring eight in a span of four games as a rookie and four in a span of three last season. But injuries have forced him to miss 11 games in two years, and he spent time working with specialists at the University of Wisconsin in the offseason to get some answers to his persistent hamstring issues.

As the Packers' coaches and personnel execs have routinely said, Watson changes the way opponents defend Green Bay's offense, so keeping him healthy can help, irrespective of his individual production.

Doubs (6-2, 204) is just the third receiver in team history to total more than 100 receptions, 1,000 yards and 10 TDs over his first two pro seasons, joining James Lofton and Sterling Sharpe. Staying dedicated to his craft, he fashioned an impressive offseason as he looks to build on his playoff breakout last year, which featured his first career 100-yard game in the wild-card victory at Dallas.

Reed (5-11, 187) broke Sharpe's team record for receptions by a rookie with 64 last year, leading the team in that category as well as receiving yards (793), and tying Doubs in TDs (eight). Wicks (6-1, 206) came on strong late in his rookie season, posting a pair of games with 90-plus yards and scoring three of his four regular-season TDs in the final three games. He then added another score in the playoffs.

It's still early, but both Reed and Wicks have shown the all-around ability to be reliable possession receivers and big-play threats. Their combination of route-running and run-after-catch skills makes that possible.

After those four, the battle for roster spots and playing time promises to be intense.

The speedy Bo Melton (5-11, 189) was the first Packers receiver to record a 100-yard game last season, Malik Heath (6-2, 213) showed he was overlooked in going undrafted last year, Samori Toure (6-1, 191) has 13 catches for 160 yards and a TD in spot duty over two seasons, and Grant DuBose returns after injuries turned the seventh-round pick's rookie year into a redshirt one.

Additionally, former QB Alex McGough (6-2, 214) has transitioned to receiver after doing standout work on the scout team last year, and two undrafted rookies – Iowa State's Dimitri Stanley and Albany's Julian Hicks – are in the mix as well. Stanley (6-0, 200) is the son of former Packers receiver Walter Stanley, while Hicks (6-2, 201) caught 17 TD passes over his last two college seasons.

At tight end, last year's pair of Day 2 draft picks in Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft lead the way. In 2023, they didn't see the field much together, as Musgrave (6-6, 253) took the lion's share of snaps early before a significant abdominal injury sidelined him for six games, and then Kraft (6-5, 259) admirably stepped in.

In the end, they combined for 65 receptions, 707 yards and three TDs in the regular season, and they each added a touchdown in the playoffs. Musgrave's 34 catches tied Bubba Franks for the franchise mark for a rookie tight end, and Kraft's 355 yards ranked second to Franks' 363.

Behind them are Ben Sims, a waiver claim as an undrafted rookie at the end of training camp last year, and Tyler Davis, who's returning from a preseason ACL injury that wiped out his entire 2023. Both reliable blockers and special-teamers, Sims (6-5, 250) scored a key TD in the Thanksgiving win over Detroit, while Davis (6-4, 252) caught eight passes for 81 yards over the 2021-22 campaigns.

Two newcomers to the tight end group are Joel Wilson and Messiah Swinson. Wilson, undrafted out of Central Michigan a year ago, was signed to the Packers' practice squad in late November, while Swinson (6-7, 259) is an undrafted rookie from Arizona State whose college career began at Missouri.

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.

Countdown to camp series:

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