Yes, welcome to Green Bay Sammy Watkins, we need you. Of course, to help replace the recently traded DaVante Adams (still in shock slightly) and Marquez Valdez-Scantling, now in Kansas City. However, the Packers need you because of the disappointing two years the Packers had with Devin Funchess and the learned lessons from it.
Funchess, the former Panthers wide receiver who didn’t play because of COVID-19 and then got hurt after an impressive few preseason games last season? Yes!
It’s not because the 6′ 4″ Funchess and the 6′ 1″ Watkins are similar places or fill similar roles. It’s because even with Adams, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and MVS last year, the Packers still could have used one more weapon in their loss against the 49ers in the playoffs. (MVS was injured.)
Funchess could have been the x-factor in that game. A 6′ 4″ veteran who could simply win some hero-balls with Adams drawing double coverage. He’s a WR1, outside receiver body type who could have added the type of skillset to bust through the stout 49ers defense.
Watkins isn’t that, but it does provide an option that fills the void of Amari Rodgers not emerging in 2021. (By the end of last year he couldn’t be trusted to fair catch punts consistently. But, let’s remember wide receiver year one is often rocky unless you’re Justin Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase.)
Randall Cobb is back, Watkins is a vet, and it’s obvious the Packers will be adding a WR in the first three rounds of the draft, or potentially moving for a high-profile WR like Deebo Samuel with their draft capital.
Injuries always happen, so having several WRs with years under their belt, and years with Rodgers (Lazard and Cobb) is the type of offense that’ll be needed to get through the 18 weeks required of an NFL season now. In fact, Devin Funchess — unless the Packers go for Treylon Burks, George Pickens, or Christian Watson in the draft — might be another great add for his size. (The other high-profile draft options including Chris Olave or trading for Deebo Samuel are around 6ft.)
You might be surprised to know that Lazard at 6′ 5″ is now the tallest receiver on the roster. The Packers are clearly shifting priorities from years of looking for athletic receivers in the middle of the draft to develop. It’s now time to bring on someone who has produced at a high level in college or the pros.
If the Packers don’t add some height at WR this year, next year’s team could lose Lazard and Robert Tonyan. That would leave a WR room that looks drastically different from the direction just a few years ago. The Packers had MVS, Adams, Lazard, Tonyan, and Funchess on the roster.
Maybe that’ll mean everything is thrown underneath, heavy reliance on back and tight ends with pocket movement, and we’ll see Matt LaFleur‘s offensive scheme take the lead again. As is the sad truth, it tends to win more than not — just ask Bruce Arians how Tom Brady feels about it.