The Green Bay Packers have wasted no time scouting out some of the best wide receiver prospects this week in Indianapolis.
The Packers have already met with several of the top-rated wideouts in the 2020 class since the NFL Combine officially opened on Sunday, including potential first-round choices such as TCU’s Jalen Reagor and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr. — who both told reporters Tuesday they had spent time talking with Green Bay team scouts.
The Packers could potentially draft a wide receiver in the first round for the first time since 2002 after spending the 2019 season struggling to find a reliable No. 2 option opposite star Davante Adams. While they would likely miss out on a few of the highest-ranked prospects such as Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, the Packers would have little trouble finding an instant playmaker with the No. 30 overall pick in what is expected to be a historically strong receiver class.
The Packers are also sitting on a back-loaded stockpile of draft picks with a pair of sixth-rounders and trio of seventh-rounders gained through various trades dating back as far as 2018. Swapping one or a few of them for better positioning early on is certainly feasible, especially given general manager Brian Gutekunst hasn’t been shy about trading up in the past.
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First Day of Workouts Could Be Telling
The Packers will expectedly be keeping a close eye on both Reagor and Shenault when the wide receivers take the field Thursday for the first session of on-field workouts, but it will be interesting to see which others manage to separate themselves from the crowded field.
Reagor does just about everything with elite speed from his releases to the quick-twitch movements along his routes that help him create space. Few other prospects can do as much damage as he can do in space, while he has also proved capable of going up high for balls despite his smaller size (5-foot-11, 195 pounds). Contested situations might be a little more difficult for him, but he could be a bullet out of the slot that forces defenses to pull pressure from Adams.
Beating press coverage is easier for Shenault and his bigger frame (6-2, 220 pounds), which could make him the better prospect between the two. He possesses explosiveness that screams big-play potential while also being versatile enough to run it from just about any spot, creating problems and mismatches for defenses — especially when complementing another high-end receiver. The biggest gripe about Shenault comes down to his unpolished route-running, which is more a byproduct of him playing just about every position but lineman for the Buffaloes in college. Hard to imagine to much better mentor for that than Adams.
Obviously, though, the Packers aren’t going to limit their scope to a handful of top-notch prospects. Gutekunst has recognized the depth of the receiver class and could be interested in acquiring more than one through the draft this year, even if the second selection comes in a later round.
Among the other wideouts with first-round potential for the Packers: LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk and Clemon’s Tee Higgins.