Sammy Watkins is a name that once struck fear in the heart of defenses. He was an absolute MENACE in college where in his final game he almost single handedly beat No. 4 ranked Ohio State with 16 catches for 227 yards and 2 TDs. After his first two years in the league he looked like the next big thing, finishing his second year over the 1,000 yard mark. Then, the injury bug hit him.
He was traded to the Rams soon after and from there signed with Kansas City where he proceeded to flash his abilities at times, but was never a constant force. Baltimore signed him last year where he had a measly 49 targets and only 1 touchdown the entire season.
So why is he a lock to make our roster ahead of promising rookies and practice squad stars? Because he is BETTER than Allen Lazard… at run blocking.
This team is being built for the run. After a second year in a row of drafting 3 offensive linemen, Green Bay has the deepest line they have had in years. They resigned Aaron Jones and drafted AJ Dillon for the same reasons. Matt Lafleur wants to run the ball and he wants to do it well.
Packer fans praise Allen Lazard for his run blocking, going as far as to suggest moving him to tight end (which would be a mistake by the way). This isn’t without merit, as Lazard has been the Green Bay’s best blocking receiver in the past few years. But Sammy Watkins is even better. According to PFF, Watkins is the best blocking receiver in the NFL between 2019 and 2021 with a grade of 85.7. Lazard? Came in at a strong 74.5.
There are of course other factors as to why he will make the team. Watkins has the veteran experience the Packers need at wideout. He may not be the player he once was, but he has reliable hands and knows how to make plays in a pinch. A third of his catches last year came when there was less than 2 minutes in a half. Aaron Rodgers is a master of the 2-minute drill and he needs veterans who can extend plays and know how to get them in scoring position.
There will be a lot of players fighting for the 6th and 7th spot on the roster. But the fact is that players like Malik Taylor, Juwann Winfree, and Samori Touri would almost certainly find their way to our practice squad while Watkins would never. This not only means losing Watkins, but also having a weaker practice squad.
Sammy Watkins is the veteran the Packers need. He is going to catch first downs and be able to run the 2-minute drill from Week 1. He is almost certainly going to have a game or two where he showcases the Watkins of old and breaks 100 yards. Yes, he is also going to probably miss a few games to injury. But most importantly, he is going to consistently hold the edge and send Jones and Dillon off to the races.
Then we win.
PJ is an Ohio native who was fortunate enough to be born into the green and gold family through his father who grew up in Green Bay. He now resides in NYC where he is an avid fan and fantasy football player. You can follow him on twitter at @PJsPack_.
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