Packers Acquire Once-Promising WR

Dec 15, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) celebrates with wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) after converting a two-point conversion against Denver Broncos linebacker A.J. JohnsonÊ(45) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Eight years ago, the Buffalo Bills traded two 1st-Round picks and a 4th-Rounder to the Cleveland Browns for a draft pick that would add wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the franchise.

For interested Minnesota Vikings fans, the purple team landed one of those picks from Cleveland to draft Anthony Barr.

Watkins was a sound addition to the Bills — for two seasons. He tabulated 2,029 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 2014 and 2015, firmly on a path to making the trade seem worthwhile.

Oct 11, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

But Watkins’ career quickly tumbled to “decent WR2 type” wide receiver rather than unabashed WR1. He capped his Bills career with a trade to the Los Angeles Rams and later spent seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. And in Kansas City, he hoisted a Lombardi trophy.

Now, Watkins treks to Green Bay, Wisconsin, as a part of a broader plan to replace Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason.

Watkins isn’t a cure-all for the Adams exodus — no player on the planet can singlehandedly replace that man — but he will be another target for Aaron Rodgers. So, before the 2022 NFL Draft, the Packers WR depth chart looks like this:

  • WR1: Allen Lazard
  • WR2: Randall Cobb
  • WR3: Sammy Watkins
  • WR4: Amari Rodgers
  • WR5: Juwann Winfree
  • WR6: Malik Taylor
  • WR7: Rico Gafford
  • WR8: Chris Blair
Nov 19, 2018; Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Thankfully for the Packers sake, the organization has two 1st-Rounders this month to bolster that otherwise underwhelming bunch of pass-catchers. Players like Chris Olave from Ohio State are often mock-drafted in Green Bay to ease the pain of Adams skedaddling.

On Watkins, he hasn’t tallied 700+ yards in a season since 2015. He did not live up to his draft hype. On the other hand, he isn’t a terrible playmaker. Perhaps 17 games with Aaron Rodgers will revitalize his career.

Watkins has played the Vikings four times, showcasing a monster game with the Bills during his rookie season.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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