The Green Bay Packers have added a wide receiver to their practice squad for the second time in two days as the future remains uncertain for two of their top pass-catchers.
Juwann Winfree, a 2019 sixth-round pick for the Denver Broncos, was signed Thursday to fill the final opening on the Packers’ practice squad after he worked out for the team in mid-September. His signing comes just one day after the Packers added fellow wideout Caleb Scott, putting them at four practice-squad receivers with Reggie Begelton and Robert Foster also still in the fold.
Winfree also joins the Packers on the same day news broke that standout receiver Allen Lazard will be “out indefinitely” with a core muscle injury. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Lazard underwent surgery this week coming off a career-best performance in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints. He finished that game with six catches for 146 yards and a touchdown and had been the Packers’ leading receiver through three games.
The Packers have not yet confirmed how much time Lazard will miss, but he was a non-participant during Thursday’s first practice of the week. The Packers did, however, have star wideout Davante Adams practicing in a limited capacity to start the week.
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Broncos Were High on Winfree . . . For a Time
The Broncos and general manager John Elway felt good enough about Winfree during last year’s NFL draft that they traded away their sixth- and seventh-round picks to Carolina just to move up 25 spots for him in the sixth round. For a little-known receiver out of Colorado, that was no insignificant move.
“Juwann, he was kind of a target for us so we wanted to get up,” Elway told reporters in his 2019 post-draft news conference. “We had heard some things that some other teams were interested, so he was kind of a target for us. When you get there late in the draft like we were, and we had him targeted, then we were doing everything we could to get up.
“Fortunately, we found a trade partner in Carolina and were able to get up and get him. He got injured last year. We saw him work at his pro day and feel like he’s got some real upside. We feel good about getting him in the sixth round.”
Colorado WR Juwann Winfree out here doing unholy things to USC CB Jack Jones pic.twitter.com/eJzAggLUgk
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 16, 2017
Unfortunately, Winfree played in just three games with 14 offensive snaps during his rookie season, failing to record a reception as the Broncos finished short of the playoffs at 7-9. His situation grew murkier when Denver added both Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler through the 2020 draft, and it didn’t help when he suffered a hamstring injury in mid-August that ultimately led to him being waived during roster cuts.
Injuries almost kept Winfree’s sampling size small in college. He tore his ACL two practices into his first season with the Buffaloes in 2016, then missed another four games with an ankle injury as a senior to finished with a final-season tally of just 28 receptions for 324 yards.