Packers' investment in ultra-young passing game is unique in NFL landscape
Today's edition of The Leap is brought to you by Underdog Fantasy, an industry leader in daily and season-long fantasy contests.
Subscribers of The Leap can join Underdog Fantasy here with our special signup link to double your initial deposit up to $100. It's a great way to play fantasy sports with real fans while also supporting the work we do here.
The Green Bay Packers’ passing game will be younger this season than any team in football, so those thinking 2023 will be a rebuild can be forgiven for such a thought. But this unique path -- and it is truly unique in the league -- came out of a confluence of circumstances that were not general manager Brian Gutekunst's or head coach Matt LaFleur’s design. The question becomes whether or not it matters this team is so young and whether or not adding a veteran receiver or tight end would be prudent, but because this accidental experiment hasn’t been tried with any kind of regularity, we won’t know until we see them on the field.
In a piece for ESPN this week, Bill Barnwell pointed out via Mike Clay the Packers’ pass-catching battery has an average age of 23.4 years this season. Going back to 1990, only the 2017 Cleveland Browns were younger, and they went 0-16.
So … yikes, right?
Josiah Deguara, of the 2020 draft class, is the group's elder statesman, the only player expected to make the roster who is not a rookie or second-year player. As a result, Barnwell ranked this group of skill players, which also included running backs, 28th in the NFL.
I don’t buy it. Talent, even unproven talent, wins in the NFL, and Green Bay has invested in their offensive talent like no other team in the league right now.
The Packers are the only team in the NFL that will likely start a first-round QB with a pair of top-50 receivers and a top-50 pick at tight end if we include only players picked by their current teams. The Cincinnati Bengals have a grievance because they picked tight end Drew Sample 52nd overall, but I don’t make the rules (except in this case, when I literally made the rules). Sample came before the Joe Burrow selection and the Bengals have been trying to find his replacement for the last two years at least.