The Green Bay Packers entered this off-season with a clear need at one specific position, wide receiver. The fans knew it needed to be addressed and even reporters and league experts knew it was the Packers’ biggest need. However, in the draft, the Packers did not take a single wide receiver in what was considered the deepest wide receiver draft in the last five to 10 years. They signed veteran wide receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year deal but fans wanted them to draft a young wide receiver in order to show promise for the future. Except, the Packers already have their young receiver who is ready to take a big leap this year: Allen Lazard.
Allen Lazard: The Breakout Receiver for the Green Bay Packers in 2020
Allen Lazard hasn’t had the easiest path to an NFL career. He went undrafted and after stints on multiple practice squads and being cut in 2017, he signed with the Packers in 2018. Lazard is a big guy for a wide receiver as he stands 6’5” and weighs in at 227 pounds. He played minimally and had no impact on the season on the field. However, Lazard stepped up this past season by playing in 16 games and starting three of them. He ended the season with 35 receptions for 477 yards and three touchdowns. This stat line is very promising as Lazard is only 24 years old. He is still entering the prime of his career.
General manager Brian Gutekunst made a great point in an interview by discussing how it normally takes three years for a receiver to show real potential and impact and most of the receivers on the roster are entering their third year with the team so the front office and coaches expect to see some significant contributions from them this year. Gutekunst also discussed not wanting to draft a receiver as they want to win now as Aaron Rodgers is still an elite quarterback. Rodgers was quoted this year by saying “By the end of the season, he [Lazard] was called upon many, many times in important situations to make big plays and he did. He’s just a great teammate, and ascending player, loved his approach every week and he made some big-time plays for us.”. Lazard did step up in big moments. Of his three touchdowns, two of them came on third-down situations and all three were over 20 yards. Lazard had 12 third-down conversions last year and caught 67 percent of his targets. Not to mention, Rodgers had a passer rating of 115.6 when he threw to Lazard.
Looking to Next Season
Lazard has what it takes to continue his breakout rise on the team. Of the young receivers on the team, he rose above all of them last season to give himself the edge to start at either the number two or three receiving slot this season. He also has the most influential person in his corner: Aaron Rodgers. Lazard has quickly become one of Rodgers’ favorites and it showed on the field last season. Everybody thought the Packers needed to address the “issue” of wide receiver. But Gutekunst just sat back and smiled, because he knew he had already had it handled. Allen Lazard is their answer.