Packers WR Sammy Watkins set for bigger role in 2022

The Green Bay Packers aren’t the only ones excited about Sammy Watkins’ potential this season. Pro Football Focus recently profiled Watkins as a receiver ready to play a bigger role in 2022. After signing a one-year contract, Watkins worked this offseason with Buffalo Bills receiver Gabriel Davis and his coach Bert Whigham.

Uninvited, Whigham praised Watkins in a recent interview.

“This guy is going to be good for the Packers. He started working with us about seven weeks ago, and he said he wanted to be “college Sammy.” Sammy is going to have a great year. He said to me: “I want to be Clemson Sammy Watkins”. And I was like, ‘OK, let’s do this.’ He’s just up there crouching 405 for eight right now like it’s nothing. He started around 218, and he’s at 225 right now too. He will become No. 1 in Green Bay.

If Watkins can get back to college form, it would give Green Bay’s offense a huge boost. In three seasons at Clemson, Watkins had 240 receptions for 3,391 yards (14.1 ypc) and 27 touchdowns. He would ultimately be the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft for the Bills.

Watkins immediately became the number one receiver at Buffalo, finishing his first two seasons with 125 receptions for 2,029 yards and 15 touchdowns. Unfortunately, a perpetual string of injuries has kept Watkins from having WR1 production ever since.

The 29-year-old receiver hasn’t played a full slate since his rookie season. Last season was perhaps his worst as a professional as a member of the Baltimore Ravens after posting career lows in targets, receptions and yards.

Now set to play for his fifth team, Watkins knows his back is against the wall.

“It’s been a blow to my career, staying on the pitch,” Watkins said in June.

“Do everything in my power to stay on the pitch. When I’m on the pitch, I can ball, I can catch the ball, I can score. I am a dominant player. But the key is to stay on the ground.

Of course, catching passes from Aaron Rodgers will also help. Watkins played alongside Patrick Mahomes for three seasons in Kansas City, but was usually the third option behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.

In Green Bay, Watkins has a chance of being a first or second option. During minicamp, head coach Matt LaFleur said Watkins would be a “big part of our offense.” The Packers don’t have a clear number one after trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.

The team is high on Allen Lazard and second-rounder Christian Watson, but no one is ruling out Watkins playing an important role in this year’s offense if he can stay healthy.

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