In a recent Athletic NFL podcast the Packers’ wide receiver corps was lamented as a weakness. This is probably a shock to dyed in the wool Packers fans who believe the team’s receivers, as a whole, are better than they’ve been in years. The problem, for surface level analysts, is that there is no “number one” receiver.

Someone to draw up a play for and move the chains on third and five. Never mind that it’s objectively better to have seven or eight different guys to throw it to on third down than only one you can trust. Matt LaFleur has discussed his basketball team strategy for the wide receiver room. Let’s go over the team’s current pass catchers and how they can be used in different ways.

Christian Watson, Luke Musgrave and Jayden Reed

It was no surprise last year when Christian Watson had his best game right after Luke Musgrave popped a kidney. The Packers lined him up in the slot and close to the box all game and let him run crossers and quick hit passes instead of lining him up outside to just run 9 routes all game and Watson took advantage.

Like Watson, Musgrave is probably best used in the slot. He isn’t the type of tight end who you would think of as a sixth offensive lineman in any scenario. Of course, Jayden Reed is the starting slot receiver.

Reed is small for a Packers’ receiver. He’s shorter than average and reportedly put on 10 pounds at the Packers’ request before his first season. He’s also the team’s most prototypical shifty YAC guy. It makes sense to put him in the slot where he has a two way go and a shorter path to jet sweeps.

All three of these guys will be used in the slot this season. And in an offense that often used 2×2 sets and cheat motions, you could see all three of them in the slot one way or another on the same play.

Romeo Doubs, Dontayvion Wicks and Jayden Reed

These three are your prototypical possession receivers. They might not have game changing athleticism, but they move the chains.

Doubs does it through James Jones level ball winning (at times), Dontayvion Wicks does it through Kyrie Irvingesque movements in his route running, and Reed just seems to have a sixth sense for getting open.

Wicks probably has the highest ceiling of the group and Doubs is the most likely odd man out in 11-personnel by the end of the season. Reed is the nominal slot starter, but he can play outside and did in college. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him outside this season.

Christian Watson and Bo Melton

The offense is simply different when Christian Watson is healthy. His field-stretching ability opens up everything else. Defenses can’t crown the box to stop the run, safeties can’t cheat a little to stay over crossing routes, and corners can’t split the difference against flood concepts. It’s also good to have 50-yard plays.

Many Packers fans thought the team may draft another speedy receiver to be Watson’s direct back-up – he has been injury prone, though the team reportedly think it has pinned down the hamstring issue. Gutekunst chose to hold with his current squad. Likely because Bo Melton is next man up.

Melton is a prototypical Packers’ wide receiver athletically and likely would’ve been draft by the team if Seattle hadn’t snagged him.  Melton has already had a 100-yard game in Green Bay and actually ran a faster 40 than Watson did. If Watson does go down again, LaFleur should still have his deep threat.   

Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.