The 2020 NFL draft was hailed as the deepest wide receiver group ever.
The Packers, who have “only” one receiver that qualifies as elite and fully proven, opted not to take one, to the dismay of many a Packers fan.
Why would they do such a thing? Why would they not give Aaron Rodgers more weapons? Why ignore the position?
Lots of reasons.
Let’s look at some of them.
Obviously, drafting for need is a bad idea. It leads to over-drafting, period. Let’s set that aside and just look at how the draft went.
The Packers traded up in the 1st round, moving all the way up to 26. Even then, by the time the Packers picked, there were already 6 receivers taken. Sorry, but I don’t care how deep the draft is, taking the 7th best receiver at 26 overall is ludicrous (never mind that history shows champions don’t take receivers in the 1st round).
By the time the Packers picked in the 2nd round, another seven receivers had already been taken. Seven! Taking 14 receivers in the first two rounds would just be bonkers!
The Packers wisely chose not to reach for a perceived need (and don’t forget that skill players are a dime a dozen)
Next year’s draft class might be even better than the much-ballyhooed 2020 class. The teams that took receivers in the 1st and 2nd round this year are much less likely to do so again next year, paving the way for the Packers to get a receiver earlier, and at a much better value.
Last year, fans felt the Packers needed more receiving talent, but they still won 14 games and the ones they lost weren’t lost because they didn’t have another receiver.
Even when Davante Adams – the bonafide, elite, top 5 receiver that leads this ragtag group of misfit toys – was out with a turf toe injury, the Packers went 4-0.
I don’t know how many times I can say this, but wide receiver is not a premium position in this game. Great for highlights, fun for fantasy football, but not nearly as important to winning actual games.
But that’s not the biggest reason the Packers didn’t take a receiver in the 1st round…
While eschewing an early wide receiver, the Packers focused on the quarterback of the future, a power runner to complement the productive slashing ground game they already have, and a versatile blocker-receiver.
That alone should tell you plenty about this offense. We wrote more about what the offense might look like earlier this week. Suffice to say, it won’t be filled with McCarthy’s 5 Wide all game. They won’t need a bunch of elite receivers to run this offense.
Add it all up, and taking a receiver in the 1st or 2nd round last year made zero sense simply based on how many were taken. And a receiver taken after that probably wasn’t going to noticeably upgrade the team more than Lazard, MVS, or EQ.
Next year, the Packers will probably have a better shot at finding talent at the position, but first they get to see if any of the young guys make a jump and we’ll all get to see if the offensive scheme even needs it.
Despite all the talent in the class, it just wasn’t the year for the Packers to take a receiver early.