Oftentimes we look towards the NFL Draft and free agency for ways that the Green Bay Packers can improve from one year to the next–and immediate upgrades can certainly be found in each of those places.
But for a draft and develop team like the Packers, on many occasions, their improvements are going to take place internally, from those already on the roster–whether they move from a backup to a starting role, or their role from the previous season increases.
As we look ahead to the 2022 season, this again is a Green Bay Packers team with Super Bowl hopes. And part of the equation to making that happen is these three returning players finding success in their larger roles.
Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Allen Lazard
Without Davante Adams, we are certainly going to see this Green Bay Packers offense spreading the ball around more than what they have in the past.
But with that said, at least early on, Aaron Rodgers is going to rely on experience over potential, and we all know how important trust and rapport are with the reigning back-to-back MVP—and Allen Lazard meets the criteria.
Over the last three seasons, Lazard has totaled over 1,400 yards while catching 68% of his 158 targets with 14 touchdowns–oftentimes as the second or third option. He has been especially reliable on third downs, and last season he had an impressive five-game stretch to end the season in which he caught 21 out of 28 targets at almost 14 yards per catch with five touchdowns.
We’ve seen glimpses here and there of what Lazard can do when featured more heavily, and in 2022, he is going to see plenty more of those opportunities.
“Excited about Allen Lazard. He’s been our dirty work guy for most of his career here. Now he’s getting an opportunity to be a No. 1 receiver,” Rodgers said via Packers Wire. “So, I’m not worried at all about him stepping into that role. I talk to him a lot. I know how he takes care of his body. I know he’ll be ready when he’s here.”
This is a Green Bay Packers wide receiver room with experience and upside. Slot options, boundary players who can win downfield, and some gadget-type playmakers as well. But the big question mark is, when it’s third and five, who can pick up the first down?
I suspect the answer, more often than not — especially early on — is going to be Lazard.