The Green Bay Packers have some difficult decisions to make at the quarterback position this offseason, but general manager Brian Gutekunst will also need to find a long-term partner at receiver for rookie wideout Christian Watson.
Watson showed flashes of becoming a future star for the Packers in 2022, hauling in 41 passes for 611 yards and seven touchdowns while adding another two scores on the ground. However, the Packers need another long-term potential No. 1 receiver to open up the offense for the 6’5″ speedster.
Ryan Wilson with CBS Sports has the perfect receiving partner in mind for the Packers in his latest mock draft. With the 15th overall pick, Wilson had the Packers taking TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston to give the offense a big lift in 2023 and beyond.
“Quentin Johnston is an above-the-rim playmaker whose athleticism and contested-catch abilities make him in the running for WR1,” Wilson said. “The Packers have inexplicably shied away from WRs in the first round, but it’s probably time to change that, no matter who the quarterback will be next season.”
Do the Packers Need Another WR in 2023?
While Watson’s emergence gave Green Bay’s offense a much-needed lift this season, the Packers are going to need more help at the position in 2023.
The Packers are expected to lose both Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb to free agency this offseason. While Cobb has been close to Aaron Rodgers during their time together in Green Bay, trade speculation surrounding the four-time MVP means that Cobb’s time with the franchise could also be coming to an end as the Packers looks to get older at the position
Meanwhile, Lazard is set for his first real payday as a former undrafted rookie and then restricted free agent last offseason. The veteran receiver even made it clear he plans on playing elsewhere next season with his postgame comments after Week 18 against the Detroit Lions.
That leaves the Packers with a receiving room filled with young players like Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Samori Toure. Doubs had high hopes of becoming the possession receiver alongside Watson, but injuries and struggles in the second half of the season have tampered those expectations.
With limited options outside of Watson, the Packers are going to have to address the receiver position this offseason, whether that’s in the draft of free agency.
What Can Quentin Johnston Bring to the NFL?
There are a handful of receivers generating first-round buzz for 2023, but Johnston literally stands head and shoulders above his peers at the top of the draft class.
Coming in at 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Johnston fits the size thresholds that the Packers typically look for in their wide receivers like Watson and Lazard. He’s coming off of a dominant season with the Horned Frogs, catching 60 passes for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns despite playing most of the year with an ankle injury.
Johnston’s size and production made him a key part of TCU’s offense on the way to a national championship appearance. Along with being a contested-catch specialist, Johnston had the speed and footwork to be a savvy route runner, while his contact balance and explosiveness made him a dangerous weapon after the catch.
By pairing Watson with Johnston, the Packers would have one of the most physically imposing receiver duos in the league. Regardless of who is playing quarterback in 2023, Green Bay’s offense would likely take a big step forward with a second reliable weapon in Matt LaFleur’s system.