Packers fans are all besides familiar with the team ’ mho struggles on special teams in holocene years. last year, it was a bad reason the team lost their playoff game to the San Francisco 49ers and missed a chance to at least host the NFC Championship Game .
The return game has been partially of the problem. last year, the Packers started the season with cub, seventh-round draft pick Kylin Hill as their chief recoil returner while third-round pick Amari Rodgers returned punts. Neither player was outstanding in their respective roles. In eight games, Hill averaged a very mediocre 19.9-yards per kick render while Amari Rodgers averaged 8.3-yards per punt return and struggled to hold on to the ball .
It has been 23 seasons since the Packers final had a return specialist go to the Pro Bowl and that was Roell Preston back in 1998.
GM Brian Gutekunst selected two players in this class ’ s NFL Draft with experience returning either kicks or punts in second-round blame Christian Watson and fourth-rounder Romeo Doubs .
Watson returned kicks in each of his four seasons with North Dakota State although he only returned a total of 18 kickoffs during his college career. His average was 20.4-yards per runback with a long return of 48 yards .
There is no question that Watson has the tools to be a returner in the NFL. His 40-yard dash time at the compound was 4.36 and once he gets started, he is very difficult to bring down from behind. Watson has besides demonstrated the elusiveness necessary to be a good kick returner .
After the injury Hill suffered survive year while returning a kick back, will the Packers coach staff be uncoerced to risk having Watson run back kicks in 2022 ? He surely could give them a weapon they have lacked in late years at the position and it would give him a way to contribute to the team ’ sulfur achiever as he learns the umbrage and adjusts to life in the NFL. It may be the quickest way for Watson to contribute in his cub temper, specially early in the year .
Doubs may be a more polish route runner than Watson at this distributor point in their respective careers which has led some to speculate he may be more ready to play a bigger role in the offense than Watson, at least in 2022. The Nevada alum besides has good speed and in accession to receiving duties, he served as a punt returner in college .
In fact, the first touch Doubs had at Nevada was an 80-yard punt render for a seduce against Portland State. Over his college career, Doubs averaged 12.5-yards per punt return. many draft experts even ranked Doubs higher on their draft boards because of his ability to return punts.
One publish that Amari Rodgers had in returning punts was judging when to catch the ball and when to let it bounce. Doubs did not have a big return with that in college and hopefully he can eliminate some of the mistakes that Rodgers made a year ago in that department. The consequence should be better field position for the Packers over the path of the season, something that hurt the club several times in holocene years .
cub receivers tend to struggle to adjust to the NFL game. Pro playbooks are much thick and the route trees that receivers are asked to run are much more building complex than what they did in college. NFL receivers are besides being defended by a a lot bigger and faster defenders who use better technique than their college counterparts .
By having Watson and Doubs add return duties to their sketch this drop, the Packers can upgrade this all-important placement and give their cub wideouts a prospect to make extra contributions in their first season in the NFL .
We besides know how return specialists have played a key role in past Packers title runs. Travis Williams returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in 1967 and averaged 41.1-yards per runback .
In 1996, Desmond Howard returned three punts for touchdowns during the regular season and one more during the Packers playoff crippled against San Francisco.
In Super Bowl XXXI, Howard became the first ever special teams player to be named MVP of the game after he accumulated 244 total hark back yards including a 99-yard kickoff refund for a touchdown that clinched the Packers win over the New England Patriots .
While Watson and Doubs have a long way to go before matching the great numbers Williams and Howard put up, merely giving the Packers some legitimate weapons in the return plot would be a long-awaited mistreat ahead for this team this season .
It may be one of the less spill the beans about benefits to arise from the Packers 2022 draft class .