GREEN BAY, Wis. – Pro Football Network posted its list of the top 32 receivers in the NFL. Not surprisingly, none play for the Green Bay Packers, but many will go against Joe Barry’s defense in 2022.
In fact, seven of the top 11 in Dalton Miller’s rankings will face Green Bay. That will provide a strong test for what could be an elite cornerback trio of Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes.
“I’m a firm believer in this league you can’t have enough corners,” Barry said on Tuesday when asked about Alexander’s contract extension. “It’s great. I’m just looking forward to getting 23 back on the field healthy and back to himself. No one really realizes what he did just to get back for us for the playoff game because he had a major injury.
“A lot of guys would have just cashed it in and said, ‘Hey, I’ll see you in May.’ He busted his butt to get back and really was not 100 percent. He played his butt off in that playoff game. It goes to show you what kind of character he has, what he’s all about. You talk about football character, Jaire Alexander has it. It’s exciting to have Jaire, to have Eric, to get Rasul back in free agency was great. It’s going to be a lot of fun once we get to OTAs next week.”
The Packers will face 14 of Miller’s top 32 receivers. They’ll play at least one premier receiver in 12 of their 17 games. That list could be expanded if Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown, who finished second among rookies with 90 receptions last year, builds on his strong rookie season and the Giants’ Kadarius Toney takes a big Year 2 jump.
Former Packers receiver Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in March, ranked No. 3.
“Davante Adams has had his own argument for being the best receiver in the game over the last few seasons,” Miller wrote. “The Fresno State alumnus is a first-down machine. Nobody in the NFL can manipulate defenders at the line of scrimmage like Adams. That allows him to separate instantly, giving Aaron Rodgers, and now Derek Carr, an open target as the first read more often than not.”
Here's Green Bay’s weekly schedule with receivers in PFN’s top-32 rankings.
Week 1: No. 1 – Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Week 2: No. 27 – Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
Week 3: No. 10 – Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 3: No. 11 – Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 7: No. 14 – Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders
Week 8: No. 8 – Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Week 10: No. 18 – CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
Week 10: No. 31 – Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
Week 11: No. 21 – Robert Woods, Tennessee Titans
Week 12: No. 9 – A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
Week 12: No. 30 – DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Week 13: No. 27 – Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
Week 14: Bye.
Week 15: No. 2 – Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Week 16: No. 4 – Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
Week 16: No. 20 – Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
Week 17: No. 1 – Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
The Too-Early Packers Roster Projection
In (2): Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love.
Out (2): Kurt Benkert, Danny Etling.
Watch out for: Etling, if only because he’s the fresh face and took better care of the football in college than Benkert.
Early viewpoint: There’s no reason to keep three quarterbacks on the roster and it’s hard to see any team wanting to trade for Love.
Pictured: Aaron Rodgers (USA Today Sports Images)
In (3): Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Patrick Taylor.
Out (3): Kylin Hill (PUP), B.J. Baylor, Tyler Goodson.
Watch out for: Baylor led the Pac-12 in rushing in 2021. According to Pro Football Focus, he forced 57 missed tackles on 227 carries compared to 38 missed tackles on 256 carries by Goodson. Then again, Goodson caught 31 passes with one drop compared to eight catches and two drops by Baylor.
Early viewpoint: Hill suffered a torn ACL at Arizona on Oct. 28. If he’s not ready, who will be the No. 3 back? Taylor perhaps changed the path of his career during the Week 18 game at Detroit, when he rushed 11 times for 53 yards and one touchdown.
Pictured: Patrick Taylor (USA Today Sports Images)
In (7): Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure.
Out (3): Juwann Winfree, Malik Taylor, Danny Davis.
Watch out for: The rookies, obviously. The Packers invested heavily at receiver and they'll need an immediate payoff if they're going to remain legitimate NFL championship contenders.
Early viewpoint: Watkins, the fourth pick of the 2014 draft and the lone veteran addition to a group sent reeling by the trade of Adams, isn’t a lock to make the roster. The development of the rookies will have a role in determining if Watkins is simply Devin Funchess 2.0. The Packers moved Rico Gafford to cornerback, where he played in college, but he still could get some action at receiver.
Pictured: Chris Blair (USA Today Sports Images)
In (4): Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Tyler Davis, Josiah Deguara.
Out (3): Dominique Dafney, Alize Mack, Eli Wolf.
Watch out for: Davis played 111 snaps last season. While he caught only four passes, Gutekunst said, “I think we might have something there.” Mack, a seventh-round pick by the Saints in 2019, hasn’t played in an NFL game but looked good at the rookie camp.
Early viewpoint: Tonyan suffered a torn ACL at Arizona on Oct. 28. If he’s not ready for Week 1, he should be close so the guess is he’ll make the opening 53. It’s a quality group of role players that really needs Tonyan to return to his 2020 form.
Pictured: Tyler Davis (USA Today Sports Images)
In (8): LT David Bakhtiari, LG Jon Runyan, C Josh Myers, RG Royce Newman, RT Yosh Nijman, T/G Sean Rhyan, OL Zach Tom, T Rasheed Walker.
Out (8): G/T Elgton Jenkins (PUP), C Jake Hanson, C Michal Menet, C Cole Schneider, G George Moore, T Jahmir Johnson, T Caleb Jones, G/T Cole Van Lanen.
Watch out for: Schneider was a four-year starter at Central Florida who did not allow a sack as a senior. Could he be Lucas Patrick 2.0 as an undrafted free agent who found a home as a versatile interior lineman?
Early viewpoint: The Packers took nine blockers into the regular season last year but the position versatility of Rhyan (at guard and tackle) and Tom (at all five positions) could allow the Packers to save a roster spot for elsewhere. Jenkins suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 21. It’s unlikely he’ll be ready for Week 1 but maybe he’ll be far enough along in his recovery to make the 53.
Pictured: Elgton Jenkins (USA Today Sports Images)
In (5): Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Devonte Wyatt, Jarran Reed, T.J. Slaton.
Out: (4) Jonathan Ford, Jack Heflin, Akial Byers, Hauati Pututau.
Watch out for: It was only a rookie minicamp. And it wasn’t live competition in the trenches. But the 26-year-old Pututau showed his strength by pushing around some of the young offensive linemen.
Early viewpoint: The additions of the veteran Reed and the rookie Wyatt have changed the face of the defensive line. This has the makings of being a really strong unit to join with excellent starters at the other positions.
Pictured: Kenny Clark (USA Today Sports Images)
In (6): Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Jonathan Garvin, Kingsley Enagbare, Randy Ramsey, Tipa Galeai.
Out (3): La’Darius Hamilton, Kobe Jones, Chauncey Manac.
Watch out for: As a sixth-year super-senior, Manac recorded 10.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for losses for Louisiana in 2021.
Early viewpoint: Enagbare tested horribly at the Scouting Combine (and even worse at pro day) but he looked athletic enough at rookie camp. If you want a rookie-camp overreaction, Enagbare could be a big-time steal. Ramsey, who missed last season with an ankle injury, and Galeai need to be assets on special teams.
Pictured: Kingsley Enagbare (USA Today Sports Images)
In (5): De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Krys Barnes, Isaiah McDuffie, Ellis Brooks,
Out (3): Ty Summers, Caliph Brice, Ray Wilborn.
Watch out for: Brooks, a productive starter at Penn State, went undrafted but showed some real potential during rookie camp. His instincts seem on-point and he comes with a reputation for being a hitter.
Early viewpoint: At the top of the depth chart, Campbell and Walker could be superb together. At the bottom of the depth chart, holdovers McDuffie and Summers and youngsters Brooks and Wilborn will battle for the last spot or two.
Pictured: Quay Walker (USA Today Sports Images)
In (6): Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes, Shemar Jean-Charles, Keisean Nixon, TBA.
Out (4): Kabion Ento, Rico Gafford, Raleigh Texada, Kiondre Thomas.
Watch out for: Ento seemingly has been in Green Bay for a decade. An undrafted free agent in 2019, he spent 2019 on the practice squad, 2020 on injured reserve and 2021 on the practice squad. A former receiver, his athleticism has stood out on a number of occasions.
Early viewpoint: Maybe Jean-Charles or one of the other young cornerbacks will step to the forefront. But, as it stands now, the depth is perilous. Starting with the trade of Josh Jackson to the Giants for Isaac Yiadom during training camp last summer, Gutekunst tried and tried again to find competent depth. That might be the recipe again.
Pictured: Kabion Ento (USA Today Sports Images)
In (4): Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Tariq Carpenter, Shawn Davis.
Out (3): Vernon Scott, Innis Gaines, Tre Sterling.
Watch out for: Gaines was a great story last summer, having gone from DoorDash to making a dash for the roster. He lost out to Scott for a roster spot, but Scott spent his second NFL season with his butt glued to the bench.
Early viewpoint: The starting duo is tremendous. The depth? Questionable, at best. Carpenter, a seventh-round pick, has the tools. Davis was a fifth-round pick by Indianapolis in 2021 who played in one game for the Packers. Same as last year, if the Packers want to use Savage in the slot, they need to have a competent player to step in at safety.
Pictured: Innis Gaines (USA Today Sports Images)
In (3): K Mason Crosby, P Pat O’Donnell, LS Steven Wirtel.
Out (3): K JJ Molson, K Dominik Eberle, LS Jack Coco.
Watch out for: Whoever the Packers sign to challenge Wirtel.
Early viewpoint: Eberle has experience with new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia and boasts a strong leg, but Crosby is the heavy favorite to keep his job after a poor season.
Pictured: Mason Crosby (USA Today Sports Images)