The Green Bay Packers will have another wide receiver joining them for the start of 2022 training camp after placing second-round rookie wideout Christian Watson on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list over the weekend.
According to Matt Lombardo of Heavy.com, the Packers are signing former USFL wideout Osirus Mitchell to their 90-man roster after hosting him for a workout on Monday, July 25. The team has not yet officially announced the signing, but a corresponding roster move will be necessary to clear a space for Mitchell.
Mitchell, 24, went undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2021 and ended up on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad for the majority of the regular season, but he was released last December and eventually pivoted to the USFL after the Birmingham Stallions drafted him in late February. Mitchell ended up starting all 10 games for the Stallions and finished as their third-best receiver with 333 yards on 23 receptions. His three touchdown catches also ranked eighth in the USFL during the 2022 season.
The Packers will now add Mitchell to an already-crowded receiver room in hopes that he might be able to generate more competition among the bottom-depth guys in camp. Green Bay lost Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown from last year’s roster but added veteran Sammy Watkins and four rookies — including three that were drafted — during the offseason, giving them some assets with which to build a new-look receiving corps.
The latest Packers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Packers newsletter here!
Will Mitchell Earn Practice-Squad Role?
The Packers might not have a superstar receiver on their 2022 roster, but there isn’t a ton of room for young and undrafted guys to carve out a place for themselves, either. Even if they decide to carry seven receivers on their initial 53-man roster, the most likely lineup currently projects to include Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, Amari Rodgers (2021 third-rounder), Watson, Romeo Doubs (2022 fourth-rounder) and Samori Toure (2022 seventh-rounder) — and that’s assuming they keep seven.
Essentially, that means the remaining Packers wideouts — including Mitchell — will more than likely be competing for practice-squad roles with the team instead of active-roster spots. Mitchell will also have to compete with a few other receivers that are more established in Green Bay, including Malik Taylor (an active-roster member in each of the past two seasons) and Juwann Winfree (a practice-squad guy since October 2020).
Of course, nobody is saying that Mitchell can’t create a future for himself in Green Bay. He was one of Mississippi State’s top two receivers in each of his final three collegiate seasons, including 2019 when he led the Bulldogs with 430 yards and six touchdowns. He also helped propel the Stallions to a USFL championship title earlier this year, catching four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown in their semifinal game against the New Orleans Breakers.
The odds are long, but Mitchell could make an impression if he brings his best to camp.
Watson’s Placement on PUP Looms Large
One of the biggest storylines heading into the Packers’ first day of training-camp practice this Wednesday is the status of second-round pick Christian Watson, who was an unexpected addition to the PUP list on July 22 when rookies started to report. The Packers had traded both of their second-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft — including the one they received in the Adams trade — to move up and land Watson at No. 34 overall, setting some big expectations for his eventual role in their offense.
Now, there is no reason for anyone to start mashing the panic button on Watson just yet. The former North Dakota State standout only just signed his rookie contract on July 20 and could have gotten a minor/clean-up procedure done after signing that is causing the Packers to be cautious with him; though, that has not yet been confirmed. The only actual information about Watson’s placement on the PUP list has come from Ross Uglem of Packer Report, who reported that his injury is “not considered to be serious/long term and he is expected to be available sooner than later.”
Either way, the Packers will have some questions to answer about his status when the team hits the field for the first time this summer. Head coach Matt LaFleur typically avoids specifics when it comes to his injured players, but he might be willing to shed some light on what is going on with Watson or when they expected him to return.