The notion that the Green Bay Packers purposely steer away from drafting first-round pass catchers has rang true for over 15 years. But their penchant for finding mid-round talent, especially at wide receiver, certainly is being counted on again for Michigan State rookie Jayden Reed.
With a clear shot at sliding in as the WR2 for the Packers in his rookie season, Reed was seen by many NFL Draft pundits as having been over-drafted by a few rounds. While MSU is far from a regular in the WR pipeline conversation, discounting Reed certainly has a leg or two to stand on.
Reeds’ production with the Spartans didn’t necessarily scream second-round receiver talent. After spending his freshman year with the Western Michigan Broncos, Reed transferred to MSU for the final three seasons of his college career.
His junior campaign was impressive, producing 1,026 yards and 10 TDs on only 59 receptions. But in the two other years that he had around 50 receptions, he scored 8 and 5 TDs (respectively) but failed to reach 800 receiving yards.
His breakout junior season was catapulted by an inflated average yards per catch (17.4), while other years only ranged from 11.6 through 14.2. Reed was a catalyst in the MSU passing attack back in 2021 on a Spartans team that went 11-2 and won the Peach Bowl, but only won seven games across his other two years in school.
Relating team wins to a player’s performance certainly isn’t fair to grade Reed on, and that isn’t a big factor in why expectations should be tempered for Reed right out of the gate. He has a ton of skills that will transfer extremely well to the NFL, and he should get a chance to test those early on.
This article is not meant to discredit Reed in any way, shape, or form – rather, it is meant to provide a case that maybe he won’t have the same type of breakout rookie season that Christian Watson had. There are certain aspects of Reed’s draft profile that Brian Gutekunst and other members of the scouting department like about him, hence why he went a few rounds earlier than consensus.
The development of Reed is going to be one of the more curious cases to follow for Packers fans this season. Is it possible that Green Bay has their two top WRs already on the roster in Watson and Reed?뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23