"Pre-draft picture" is a position-by-position look at the Packers' roster heading into the 2023 NFL Draft. The series continues with the wide receivers and tight ends.
GREEN BAY – As the Packers transition to Jordan Love at quarterback, his collection of receivers and tight ends is currently as young and thin as it gets.
The additions almost certainly on their way to both position groups via the draft will make them younger yet, but the idea is they'll help provide a long-term foundation of perimeter talent around Love.
At receiver, the Packers invested significantly during last year's draft following Davante Adams' departure, trading up in the second round to take Christian Watson out of North Dakota State and then choosing Romeo Doubs from Nevada in the fourth round.
The two made their best rookie impressions at different times. Doubs (6-2, 204) had five games with four or more catches, and scored three touchdowns, in the first half of the season before an ankle injury sidelined him for a month. Watson (6-4, 208) scored eight TDs in a span of four games beginning in Week 10 after overcoming knee and hamstring injuries and a concussion early on.
In all, they combined for 83 receptions, 1,036 yards and 10 TDs, with Watson adding two more scores on the ground. They enter 2023 as the clear go-to receivers for Love with veterans Allen Lazard (Jets) and Randall Cobb (unsigned) no longer around.
The third rookie from last year's draft class, seventh-rounder Samori Toure from Nebraska, played sparingly but got his feet wet with five catches for 82 yards and a TD. Opportunity will definitely be knocking for Toure (6-1, 191) in Year 2.
As of now, the rest of the depth chart at receiver includes just Bo Melton, a speedster originally drafted last year by the Seahawks in the seventh round, and Jeff Cotton, a midseason practice-squad signing.
Melton (5-11, 189) had five 100-yard games in college at Rutgers and spent his rookie season on Seattle's practice squad until the Packers signed him in late December. Cotton (6-2, 206) went undrafted out of Idaho in 2020 and has previously spent time on the practice squads of the Chargers, Jaguars and Cardinals.
While looking at more draft investments, General Manager Brian Gutekunst also has expressed a desire to sign a veteran receiver to provide a more experienced presence in such a young room. But that hasn't happened yet, and the Packers don't have a lot of salary-cap space as they search for the right fit.
At tight end, the Packers return just two veterans, Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis, with longtime stalwart Marcedes Lewis unsigned and previous starter Robert Tonyan heading to Chicago as a free agent.
In 2022, Deguara (6-2, 238) and Davis (6-4, 252) handled various roles on offense and special teams, combining for 15 receptions for 140 yards. Their responsibilities are sure to increase, even with the Packers strongly in the market to select a tight end early in the draft. Their experience will be leaned on as well, as both enter their fourth NFL seasons.
The developmental prospects behind them are Austin Allen and Nick Guggemos, both late-season practice-squad signings. Allen (6-8, 253) went undrafted last year out of Nebraska, where he set single-season school records for catches (38) and yards (602) for a tight end, and spent part of his rookie year on the Giants' practice squad. Guggemos (6-5, 247), undrafted out of St. Thomas in 2021, spent offseason time in Seattle, Washington and Cleveland before coming to Green Bay.